silveradept: Charles Schulz's Charlie Brown lays on Snoopy's doghouse, sighing. (Charlie Brown Sighs)
More USian politics )
silveradept: A head shot of Firefox-ko, a kitsune representation of Mozilla's browser, with a stern, taking-no-crap look on her face. (Firefox-ko)
This is going to be big. And hopefully reasonably organized. But all politics and such. If you are a paid user, you can screen out such naked political work by excluding the tag "political links" from my journal. Manage your subscription filters at this link.

For your reading sensibilities. )
silveradept: The logo for the Dragon Illuminati from Ozy and Millie, modified to add a second horn on the dragon. (Dragon Bomb)
What has happened requires processing and thought. And a willingness to catalogue and synthesize what is right in front of you.

Politics and worse follows. )

Take care of yourselves, though - it's easy to get caught up in everything that you forget yourself.

Virtual hugs for all in distress.

If you are looking for a place to donate time or money, a long list of places where you can donate time or money toward progressive causes.

If nothing else rings for you, have a space where you can be reminded of your virtue and your worth.
silveradept: An 8-bit explosion, using the word BOMB in a red-orange gradient on a white background. (Bomb!)
There have now been two states registering their preference as to which candidates they wish to see stand as candidates for the Presidency of the United States. I have been mostly silent on that matter, because I was waiting for the serious candidates to appear, but this does not seem to have been the case. There are now only a few left in the Republican nomination, and there have always been two in the Democratic nomination.

The Republican side seems to have many a person that have far too much working against them to make them qualified candidates. Mr. Trump's comment about trying to exclude Muslims from the country should have sent him away immediately. Mr. Cruz keeps the company of people that believe the deity should smite the country because it tolerates gay men and are unafraid to say so. (Other candidates can be tarred with this brush as well). Mr. Rubio seems unwilling to work toward a solution to handle immigration without deportation. Yet none of this seems to have been a fatal strike against any of their candidacies, and for some of them, it appears to have made them more popular. There are others, but they've become rather easily erased by the media's own hunger for people to say explosive things.

For the Democrats, I harbor judgment against the Clinton candidacy because of past performances of both Hillary and Bill with regard to their fidelity to liberal ideas that sit to the left of the standard Democratic candidate. Mr. Sanders has a better record on more liberal issues, but much of the conventional wisdom that I see says that unabashed liberalism makes Mr. Sanders likely to have to fight a heavy fight against any Republican, no matter how poorly the Republican would run the country.

I'm still waiting for the serious, respectable candidate to take over on the Republican side.

The other major politics element is the completion of Antonin Scalia's lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court of the United States, leaving a vacancy that requires filing on the highest court.

There are qualified candidates to sit that vacancy, if any proposals actually ever get through. But when it comes to lifetime appointments, the gridlock and stubbornness that comes from a division between houses of Congress or between Capitol Hill and the White House magnifies to the point where it would need a change of government to break the jam. For the Republicans, a year of waiting to see whether or not their preferred candidate can capture the White House is very easy - they've already committed to obstruction where possible since recapturing the House, and they have enough votes to sink a candidate on pure spite when it comes to Senate approval.

There may also be an extra edge of desperation on this candidate, considering that so many things that liberals take as basic human rights only exist because of narrow Court decisions, including the one that happened in 2015 preventing any state from deciding that marriage was to be reserved only to persons with particular genital configurations. Or that the gradual chopping away at the guarantee of Roe that is coming to a head soon. Or the Affordable Care Act and its ways of getting insurance into the hands of people that can't afford insurance. More than a few things that are hard-fought may burn away in the presence of a different Court, and the option of getting the legislators to do it instead isn't available with the divided legislature. Blargh.

Then there's the thing that really should be getting the national attention, and should have been getting it from the very beginning: The city of Flint, Michigan was poisoned with lead from their water pipes after untreated water from the Flint River was used as the primary water supply - the initial decision to switch from Detroit to a Genesee County cooperative resulted in Detroit's water department serving a termination notice that left the city of Flint with no alternatives.

But then things got messed up. And then the state tried to cover it up by lying to the people of Flint, and making sure state employees had fresh bottled water to drink from as opposed to the tap. But children with rashes and signs of lead poisoning do not get covered up easily, and neither does contaminated water.

Except then there's the part where majority-black cities, including Detroit and Flint, have been under the control of state-appointed officials and their city councils and elected representation have no actual power to do anything, so if there are people to blame, it's the emergency managers, and then the state officials, including the governor, and everyone involved in the cover up and the slowness to declare emergencies and switch back to safe water. Because those managers ostensibly don't care about anything other than being the cities back into some form of financial solvency.

Because of this, it's not hard to speculate that someone did this deliberately, or that once the crisis was underway, they deliberately drug their feet even more before engaging with the coverups. Because who would care about black people dying in Flint? The state has been trying to get rid of them anyway. If they could do the same to Detroit and other places that are so financially strapped and get away with it, surely they would.

The current solution in Flint right now is to collect bottled water from the fire station, assuming that you can get to the fire station. But that's just for drinking. There's still not water for bathing or washing or other things that are related to hygiene. And, even with federal aid coming in, the state is claiming they don't necessarily have to spend that federal money on helping people in Flint.

The state of Michigan makes very little secret of how much it hates its minority residents. And while there have been resignations at all levels involved in the crisis so far, the governor hasn't resigned and has no intention to. Even though his administration did this, from authorizing the switch to covering up the disaster, and probably did so with his direct knowledge.

Such is the state of our politics - the people who are unfit contest for office, the people who should receive fair consideration will be mired for reasons unrelated to them, and those who deliberately commit evil go unpunished, at least for the moment.
silveradept: A representation of the green 1up mushroom iconic to the Super Mario Brothers video game series. (One-up Mushroom!)
So, that happened! Here's your rundown when it comes to the general election on 6 November 02012 -

  1. Democrats Win. Barack Obama is the winner of the Presidential contest, and has four more years and no need to think about a re-election campaign to implement the agenda he has in mind. Additionally, based on projections, the Democrats will have more than 50 seats in the United States Senate. (Not that it will stop filibuster abuse - watch to see whether Republicans dig their heels in even more when it comes to clogging the works.) The governorships up for election did not swing remarkably red, and so the Democrats can say they came out the victors.

    Elizabeth Warren won. If the party will get behind her on financial issues and the regulations of Wall Street, they'll be pushing for some of the best ideas liberals can offer.

  2. ...with one exception. The House of Representatives is projected to stay in the control of the Republican Party. Which, if it follows the same form as the House of the last two years, will be basically an impediment and roadblock to the Democrats, more interested in symbolically trying to undo the work that has been done than in doing actual work, because they can gain more political capital and support from the base by getting in the way. This should be an impetus to form a new political party that will actually work.

  3. It's more than just okay to be Takei. Maine's Question One - Approved. Maryland's Question Six - Approved. Washington State's Referendum 74 - Approved. (Provisionally, anyway.) Minnesota's constitutional amendment - Rejected. (Although state law still makes marriage illegal between two consenting adults if their genitals aren't in the accepted pattern.)

    And then - Tammy Baldwin is elected, to become the first openly gay person elected to the Senate. This year is the first time that initiatives or questions put to the voters result in victories for the marriage equality squads. It's no longer 0-for-34, plus there's an openly gay Senator. This is a great, great day in elections.

  4. Funny enough, if you openly claim to be against women's choice and rights, you lose. Examples one and two are Todd Akin and Richard Murdoch, who were both sent home without supper, and Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan, who are both on record as being against reproductive choice for women. But, basically, if you talked about outlawing abortions and didn't leave the common exceptions that used to be acceptable Republican orthodoxy, the voters punished you for that choice. I'll bet the gender gap analysis will be very fruitful. Although, it does then produce the possibility of candidates the next time around who will lie about their choice preference to get into office and then turn around and show their true colors. We'll have to keep an eye on that.

  5. Oh, hey, and speaking of women...
    • First Asian-American woman in Senate. Maybe also first Buddhist in Senate?
    • First time every state legislature has a woman somewhere in office.
    • First time an entire party delegation to the House is majority female (even though minority party).
    • Five states elect a woman to Senate for a full term for their first time.
    • New Hampshire goes totally female. Two Senators, the governor, and all of the NH federal House delegation - all women. How awesome is that?
    • More women in Congress in each house than ever!

  6. Hooray, weed! Two proposals to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana possession passed - Colorado and Washington both said "Aye!" Not that this will change any federal statutes or enforcement actions on that.

  7. No more anti-democratic dictatorships. Michigan voters rejected the emergency financial manager law that allowed the state to appoint a manager that had unilateral control over the entire operation of a city, including being able to dissolve contracts, suspend the power of the duly elected government, and sell city or town assets.

  8. Puerto Rico says they want to be state #51. A pair of referenda says that a majority of Puerto Ricans would like to change their nation's status, and they like statehood as the destination.

  9. Did California just criminalize getting assistance from a sex worker? With new penalties and classifications for human trafficking, it's possible that if a sex worker gives some of their earnings to help someone, they could be classed and prosecuted as a human trafficker.
Anything else worth mentioning?
silveradept: Domo-kun, wearing glass and a blue suit with a white shirt and red tie, sitting at a table. (Domokun Anchor)
Although I am being despised in proxy by many of my classmates, because I am finished with my work, I still had a good day yesterday. Slept in, went to a holiday party so that I could have food, chocolate, and company with other grad students and staff, then came home. The highlight of the day was when I opened the freezer door to get dinner out, the ice tray dropped out. This would not be eventful, except that the ice tray them proceeded to bounce itself all the way down the staircase next to the freezer, shedding all its ice cubes in the process. Surprisingly, the only major damage I saw was that a corner of the plastic handles was shorn off. I suspect the tray would have bounced farther had there not been a couch close to the bottom of the stairs. After the initial “D’oh!” of not catching the tray, I couldn’t do much more than laugh at the silliness of it all. I can’t feel bad about something like that happening, because it’s way too funny to think poorly of myself for. Besides, it wasn’t my fault - I didn’t put the ice tray where it would fall out. I think I was just shocked at it happening, and then amused to see just how far it would go. (Pretty far, d00d.)

DRT comes up with a list of some of the weird, but predictable, things people will do. Unfortunately, no citations to the various studies that have brought about all these bullet points. Would be a lot cooler if the list could show where it draws its conclusions from. Speaking of science, 10,000 scientists protest government meddling in their results. This would be... there’s a word that fits here, and it’s not irony... for me to remind people that not everything they read from government, newsmedia, or bloggers is necessarily true. I would believe that the government is interfering, trying to get data to match predetermined conclusions, and that some scientists would be miffed at this happening to them. Maybe I’m naive.

Speaking of the government, the government has subpoenaed the ACLU to retrieve a classified document that was leaked. This is definitely different. I wonder whether the rules about classification of documents still apply to material leaked to an organization - by definition, a leak is designed to cause the data to be released, so would that constitute an (un?)authorized declassification of the document? Or is there precedent that says there must be good reasons for subpoenaing a document once its in the hands of the organization?

Brief interlude, not actually trying to link to anything, but a list that Mr. Bush probably would like to keep near him at all times - infernal devices, a listing of instruments of torture. There’s a lot there, and pictures, too. In terms of a different kind of torture, though, the new Homeland Security Chief still thinks national ID cards are swell. If he can come up with something that can’t be tampered with, copied, stolen, lost, or have any of the steps along the way hacked, he might have a case. Even then, he’ll have to explain why it’s a good idea for information of this nature to become centralized, possibly to the point that a citizen could be theoretically tracked to reasonable accuracy if desired. And whether or not the creation of such a number or identity might lead to or be violations of the laws that protect individual privacy and guarantee that personal information is handled appropriately. There’s a lot here that needs to be addressed to convince people to buy into this. So it might end up being pushed on the people in a “you take this or you’re a freedom-hating terrorist who’s going to be deported” manner.

CNN was running the first part of a series called “What is a Christian?” yesterday night, and I happened across it, and stuck around to watch. It’s been pretty good, actually, showing off both the wingnut side (although not necessarily as wingnuts) and the saner side. And Unitarian churches, as well, that have Christians in it. So on the CNN website, we have punk preachers asking what the hell went wrong with Christianity that the wingnuts are in control. Perhaps the wingnuts took good notes from the list of 10 ways to build a cult-like following, and turned that into a successful business.

Georgia state education board says Harry Potter can stay. We applaud, we applaud. This is a good way of breaking a negative stereotype that all the South has are wingnut evangelicals in all places. (Although, when I was down, some of the strongest broadcasting stations were Christian-themed. Not that I was looking for them, but when it’s nearly midnight, you go with what’s on the radio.)

The newest terror-fighting tool: bomb-sniffing bees. With a more sensitive odor-detection, bees are apparently the new dogs. Now, will the bomb squad be able to detect when the bee signals a bomb?

Cooking at home means eating healthier, according to Reuters. Now, the barriers of having sufficient space and time to cook are all that need to be conquered, right? Perhaps if the embattled undergraduate/graduate student or the single person working three jobs to make ends meet have sufficient time to cook, they’ll cook and eat healthier. So we either need more time or knowledge on how to make good nutritious meals in about the time it takes to microwave something unhealthy.

What's In a Name? Barack Obama may be finding out really soon. (NYTimes site - there may be some registration thing going on if you come back to this. Use BugMeNot if you’re not already registered.) What scares me is that I think this blog commentator is spot-on, and that the name will become a problem for the Senator if he is chosen as the candidate for the next election. I can expect to see sludge being thrown, not necessarily by any official Republican mouthpiece, but other places that sympathize, that the Senator is too brown, too Arabic-sounding, and has a name too similar to “the enemies of America” to be President. I retort that people were worried that the Pope would call Kennedy with his policy.

Flexible sheets of plastic may be able to provide wireless power. It will take specific technology on the receiving end to be able to use such power sheets, but if you’ve got a lot of wall warts and you’re worried about people tripping on them, having a wireless power sheet driving your electronics would definitely be cool. Don’t look for them to appear for another five years, though, according to the creators - then they might start becoming part of your house’s infrastructure. We can only hope that they’ll transmit through paint coats and wallpaper.

Nearly two dozen people want more information on New Ephemera, a fictional destination. You can see the brochure that was given to them as enticement at the link. I suspect the train commuters probably would have liked to have such a destination to get away to.

Mottainai Furoshiki - a wrapping cloth made from recycled materials. So it’s something that you can use to wrap your bundles with in a variety of ways. Here's a visual list of how you can wrap things in it. And it’s recycled material. This could very well be a really neat thing to learn how to use well. I just wonder if it’s big enough that I can find a way to carry my books and papers to and from class with it, along with all the other supplies I’d need. Then again, considering the amount of supplies I actually use when taking notes, it very well might be big enough to suffice. That would mean learning things and retiring my book bag, which is actually a handy thing for when I want both hands free. But still, on shopping trips, a couple of these could be really handy.

Anyway, now that I have the option, I’ve decided to open up the tagging abilities of this journal to the readership at-large. Since I don’t really tag anything at all, I’m leaving up to the people who I think are dedicated enough to make, and actually want to see, tags. If you get really ambitious, you could do the archives, too.

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