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topaz: (cartoon)
Because Proposition 8 is unconstitutional under both the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses, the court orders entry of judgment permanently enjoining its enforcement; prohibiting the official defendants from applying or enforcing Proposition 8 and directing the official defendants that all persons under their control or supervision shall not apply or enforce Proposition 8. The clerk is DIRECTED to enter judgment without bond in favor of plaintiffs and plaintiff-intervenors and against defendants and defendant-intervenors pursuant to FRCP 58.


topaz: (gormy gull)
In other chicken news, Research 2000 has now done a poll for DailyKos on chickens for checkups, and found that a huge majority of Nevadans, 81%, thinks bartering chickens for health care is not a realistic way to bring down costs.

(from Plumline.com, Sue Lowden’s Republican Rival Attacks Chickens For Checkups)
topaz: (human dalek)
The big story of the day: anti-gay California state senator Roy Ashburn was arrested for DUI, allegedly after having left a gay bar earlier in the evening.  (Hat tip to [livejournal.com profile] mzrowan for bringing this to my attention and for hunting down the original story that broke.)

What's interesting to me is how much skepticism I've seen of this story.  And it's true, there are a lot of legitimate objections: they haven't named their sources.  The manager of the bar says she never saw him there that night.  He was blocks away from the club when the police pulled him over, so it's unlikely they witnessed him leaving.

Here's why I believe the story:

This morning there are lots of articles all over the news reporting that people have been asking Ashburn about his sexuality for years and getting non-denial denials. The mayor of Sacramento says he regularly sees Ashburn at gay clubs.

Why would these people let him go on like this and not say anything?  The usual reasons people let people stay closeted: he's powerful, they don't want to make waves, they don't want to invade his privacy, etc. etc. etc.  It's hard to be the first person to say this and risk being dismissed as a crank or a rabble-rouser.

What it really sounds like is that it was an open secret in local circles that Ashburn was just another a closeted anti-gay legislator and no one wanted to be the first person to address it, so no one did.  Until CBS13 printed the story yesterday.   And once someone has started talking about it, it's a lot easier for everyone else to start talking about it.  Which they now appear to be doing.
topaz: (Default)

Posted via LiveJournal.app.

Edit: not you, [livejournal.com profile] actjack, I'm sure you already have ones that look like that. :-)
topaz: (shooting stars)
The current story of the day is: Obama wins the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize!  OMGWTF?  He hasn't done anything for it yet!  He got the prize for not being George W. Bush!  This is just cheap politics!

To which I say: I am shocked, shocked, to learn that politics may have been behind the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize!


Sep. 30th, 2009 10:02 pm
topaz: (glow-tini)
Well, what a ride that was!  Thanks to everyone who participated in our roundtable discussion this afternoon.

I don't know about you kids, but the lesson I took away from today was: don't hesitate to use that little "freeze" button in LJ.  I nearly hit it on several occasions, but decided to let the thread play out naturally, and WHOA NELLY what a train wreck!

The thing is: there actually are some troublesome issues around the role that Samantha Geimer's mother played in the Polanski assault, and I believe that there's room to have an interesting and productive conversation about that.  I may even have that discussion some day.

This, however, wasn't it. It wasn't even supposed to be that, and I sincerely apologize to all of you for letting it run wild the way it did.
topaz: (madblog)
Dear Hollywood folks:

I like you.  I really, really like you.  Lots of you are really my kind of people: funny, engaging, passionate about making great movies, earnest about progressive change (if a bit shallow in your politics, but lots of us are guilty of that mistake sometimes).  I confess: I am more susceptible to show biz gossip than I like to let on, and am liable to click through on the latest celebrity news quickly when no one's looking.  I care, guys.

So it is only with the deepest sincerity and concern that I ask you today to shut the fuck up about Roman Polanski already.

Seriously!  I don't know what you think you're doing, but it's not helping.  It's not helping anyone.  It's not helping him, it's not helping the situation and it's really not helping you.

Look, I know there are complexities at play here.  I know that the victim has, for most of the last 30 years, wanted to put the case behind her, and since January has wanted the case dismissed.  I know that Polanski was on the verge of locking in a plea bargain when the judge fucked him like.... well, like a 44-year-old director fucks a 13-year-old girl, I guess.  No one, as far as I can tell, believes that he poses a threat to anyone at this point.  I get it.

But please let us return to first principles: this is a man who pleaded guilty to raping a thirteen-year-old girl.  That is not usually classified as a victimless crime, Hollywood folks!  While the judge's apparent decision to reneg on accepting a plea bargain was a rotten thing to do, it does not reduce or lessen his guilt and it arguably does not justify fleeing justice for 30 years.

So if you want to lobby for his freedom by urging that the judge dismiss the charges, or sentence him to time already served: that is a fine argument!  Go for it.

But in the meantime, kindly do not:
And above all, whatever you do, DO NOT allow Woody Allen within a HUNDRED MILES of commenting on this case.  I mean, Jesus H. Christ on a camera dolly.

Or, as [livejournal.com profile] muckefuck put it so eloquently: I ❤ Luc Besson.

I love you, guys.  I really do.  Now stop fucking up.
topaz: (thinky)
I missed this over the last couple of days, but, apparently, on Tuesday Obama plans to give a speech to public school kids across the country, telling them to work hard and stay in school.  That announcement has left conservatives apoplectic with rage at its socialist message.

Some parents are pulling their kids out of school to make sure they are not tricked into staying in school!  In response to parental pressure, a number of school boards have chosen to issue permission slips or not show the speech at all, thereby remaining shrewdly neutral on the question of whether or not kids should go to school.  (I think that for a school board to take this stance must be an example of what they call "reverse psychology.")

I wish I could say that this was an Onion headline, but holy shit, it's really happening.

Is it possible that we have reached peak wingnut?  I almost hope not.
topaz: (profile)

5pm-8pm today (Tuesday, June 16).

Damn, I wish I brought my camera today!
topaz: (thinky)
For those of you following the events surrounding the revolution that appears to be unfolding in Iran, The Big Picture has posted some astonishing photos from the streets.  Some are photos you may have seen already, but now at much higher quality.  Including the heart-wrenching image of a Mousavi supporter helping an injured police officer in the middle of a riot.
topaz: (QRcode)
When George Tiller was killed a couple of weeks ago, the clinic's management said that it would close for the following week to regroup, but would reopen afterward.  Or at least that's how I recall it.

That is not to be.  The Tiller family announced today that the clinic would remain permanently closed.

Who can blame them?  But the result is that there are only two facilities now in the U.S. where women at risk can seek late-term abortions.

I take a little bitter comfort in knowing that this move leaves abortion opponents are distraught and at a loss, for purely tactical reasons:
Although Operation Rescue worked for years to close down Dr. Tiller’s clinic, his death was never the outcome Mr. Newman wished for, he said. Of the man charged with killing Dr. Tiller, he tearfully said, “This idiot did more to damage the pro-life movement than you can imagine.” (NYT)
topaz: (dream avatar)
Marijuana decriminalization law goes into effect (Boston Globe, January 2, 2009)

I have a feeling I'm still not going to have any luck figuring out where to buy, though.
topaz: (swirly)
Christopher Hitchens argued this week in Slate that Mumbai (the name for the city known as Bombay until 1995) is a "fake name," compares it to the Burmese junta renaming that country "Myanmar", and suggests that right-thinking people will continue to refer to Mumbai as Bombay.

I don't get it.  The opposition in Burma to the name "Myanmar" is partly a symbolic opposition to the military regime.  The Burmese protesters do not even recognize the legitimacy of the ruling party.  I don't see that the same issues apply in India.  As evidence, Hitch cites this 2006 Slate article by Christopher Beam:
Shiv Sena's leadership pushed for the name change for many years prior to 1995. They argued that "Bombay" was a corrupted English version of "Mumbai" and an unwanted legacy of British colonial rule.... The push to rename Bombay was part of a larger movement to strengthen Marathi identity in the Maharashtra region.... The name change didn't impact all of Mumbai's residents. Speakers of Marathi and Gujarati, the local languages, have always called the city Mumbai. "Bombay" is an anglicization of the Portuguese name "Bombaim," which is believed to derive from the phrase "Bom Bahia," or "Good Bay." (Portugal held territories in western India until 1961.)
So at least to some degree it's a top-down change.  But it's not clear to me that that automatically means that "Bombay" is a more proper name.  Why is a 16th-century Portuguese colonial name more culturally appropriate for an Indian city than a Hindu name that derives from local temples going back thousands of years?

Help me out.  I know a lot of you are smarter than I am and pay more attention to Asian politics than I do.  Am I missing something big from the backstory here?
topaz: (Default)
From the No On 8 rally at Boston's City Hall Plaza today.

The rally was really huge. I don't have a clue how to estimate crowd sizes but it seemed like there must have been a thousand people there. I was blown away.

yes: love. no: hate.

13 more... )
topaz: (Default)

the whole world is watching, originally uploaded by qwrrty.

No On 8 rally at Boston City Hall.

topaz: (Great Brook)
The cover of this week's New Yorker completely blew me away:

topaz: (Default)
I've been wanting to write something more about what this year's presidential election meant to me personally.  It's not just the tremendous relief after the disastrous policy of the last eight years, or the exhilaration of actually electing an African-American president, or the anticipation of repairing our relationships with other nations.  It's all of those things, but it is much, much deeper too.

So I need to tell you all a little about Al.


Al Lowenstein was a New York congressman in the early 1970s.  He was one of the first people to try to bring the horrors of the government of South West Africa to light in the 1950s and 1960s.  As an activist in the late 1960s, he became something of a minor figurehead in the anti-war movement.  He earned himself a spot on Nixon's enemies list.

He was, in other words, our kind of people.

My parents worked enthusiastically on his Congressional campaign in 1972.  As a result of their involvement they got to know both Al and his wife Jenny quite well.  For years afterward we would vacation with their family often.  Al's kids were like cousins to me -- closer, in some ways, than my blood cousins -- and to this day Jenny is one of my mother's closest friends.

Al Lowenstein was assassinated when I was nine years old.  I was much too young to have a first-hand memory of his political work.  But I grew up hearing stories about his charisma, his energy and his optimism.  How he could arrive late for a speech, tie askew and hair rumpled, to an audience of cranky, impatient listeners who had been waiting for thirty minutes in a crowded and stuffy auditorium in the height of the summer -- and how, from the moment he entered the room, he would hold his audience spellbound, riveted, hanging on his every word.  How he could start with a room full of dispirited, dejected people and leave them pumped up, rejuvenated, and convinced they could make something happen.

I grew up with these stories in my ears.

Then, last January, when Obama won the Iowa primary -- "They said this day would never come" -- they came to mind again.  And again at his "A More Perfect Union" speech in Philadelphia.  And again.  And again.

Because when I hear Obama speak, I hear Al's words in my ears.  When I hear Obama talk about change, I hear Al inviting me to imagine just what we could do if we all worked together.

That is what Barack Obama's election means to me.  It is the legacy of Al Lowenstein.  Al's dream was millions of people, convinced that by working together they can make a better world.  Last week we took another step to make that a reality.  And in my mind I am thanking Al Lowenstein.

April 2012


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