Ben: Who's winning?
Ben: Well, he's moved twice, so clearly he's winning.
Robin: I'll just tie it up then. [moves piece]
Ben: Tie goes to Black.
[beat. Robin looks up at Ben.]
Robin: This isn't affirmative action, man!
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I wish there were a Christian organisation like British Muslims for Secular Democracy, who could liaise with the various gay Christian organisations, but also include those who aren't directly involved, who just think this cause is just. Then there would be a phone number for that liberal voice that the UK media could lay their hands on. If they ever wanted to call it.
In the meantime, I've started a hashtag on Twitter: #godlyforequality. If you're on Twitter, go and have a look, and let's see if we can retweet the message a long way. It's only a tiny thing. It's the least I can do.
The only extent to which hate-crime protections pertain to "thought" is in the way that all criminal law does, which is to say that motive matters. If you truly believe that the law should make no distinction between accidental manslaughter and premeditated first-degree homicide, because you truly believe that any such distinction constitutes the establishment of "thought crime," then I will accept that you are making this "thought-crime" objection to hate-crime legislation in good faith. (I'll think you're kind of an idiot, but at least a sincere idiot.) But you can't accept that distinction and still argue in good faith that hate crimes are "thought crimes."
Alan Grayson (D-FL) is my hero. Seriously, he tells it like it is, without fear of the insurance companies, and certainly not without fear of the Republican lie machine:
"We as a party have spent the last six months, the greatest minds in our party, dwelling on the question, the unbelievably consuming question of how to get Olympia Snowe to vote on health care reform. I want to remind us all that Olympia Snowe was not elected President last year. Olympia Snowe has no veto power in the Senate. Olympia Snowe represents a state with one half of one percent of America's population.
"What America wants is health care reform. America doesn't care if it gets 51 votes in the Senate or 60 votes in the Senate or 83 votes in the Senate, in fact America doesn't even care about that, it doesn't care about that at all. What America cares about is this; there are over 1 million Americans who go broke every single year trying to pay their health care bills. America cares a lot about that. America cares about the fact that there are 44,780 Americans who die every single year on account of not having health care, that's 122 every day. America sure cares a lot about that. America cares about the fact that if you have a pre-existing condition, even if you have health insurance, it's not covered. America cares about that a lot. America cares about the fact that you can get all the health care you need as long as you don't need any. America cares about that a lot. But America does not care about procedures, processes, personalities, America doesn't care about that at all." [. . .]
"Last week I held up this report here and I pointed out that in America there are 44,789 Americans that die every year according to this Harvard report published in this peer reviewed journal because they have no health insurance. That's an extra 44,789 Americans who die whose lives could be saved, and their response was to ask me for an apology." [. . .]
"Well, I'm telling you this; I will not apologize. I will not apologize. I will not apologize for a simple reason; America doesn't care about your feelings. [. . .] America does care about health care in America. And if you're against it, then get out of the way. You can lead, you can follow or you can get out of the way. [. . .] America understands that there is one party in this country that is favor of health care reform and one party that is against it, and they know why.
"They understand that if Barack Obama were somehow able to cure hunger in the world the Republicans would blame him for overpopulation. They understand that if Barack Obama could somehow bring about world peace they would blame him for destroying the defense industry. In fact, they understand that if Barack Obama has a BLT sandwich tomorrow for lunch, they will try to ban bacon.
"But that's not what America wants; America wants solutions to its problems, and that begins with health care."
A: Sarah Palin is lying about health care reform.
B: Whoa, hold on there. That's quite the accusation. You want to use the L-word, you're going to have to prove it.
A: That's not difficult. Here is the outrageous and demonstrably untrue lie in question, from her Facebook page:The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.She's accusing President Obama of trying to create a "death panel" in which bureaucrats will decide whether or not to euthanize the elderly and handicapped children. That simply isn't true. It isn't close to anything that's close to being true. She's lying.
B: So you say.
A: No, what I say is irrelevant. What matters is what she said versus what the reality is. She is lying.
B: OK, let's just say for the sake of argument that what she is saying there isn't true ...
I've generally tended to take the position that while the people running Iran are a bunch of reactionary thugs, they're at least a fairly intelligent bunch of reactionary thugs.
After this revelation on Iranian Press TV, however, I'm not so certain.
Of the 770 detainees grabbed here and there and flown to Guantánamo, only 23 have ever been charged with a crime. Of the more than 500 so far released, many traumatized by those “enhanced” techniques, not one has received an apology or compensation for their season in hell.
What they got on release was a single piece of paper from the American government. A U.S. official met one of the dozens of Afghans now released from Guantánamo and was so appalled by this document that he forwarded me a copy.
Dated Oct. 7, 2006, it reads as follows:
“An Administrative Review Board has reviewed the information about you that was talked about at the meeting on 02 December 2005 and the deciding official in the United States has made a decision about what will happen to you. You will be sent to the country of Afghanistan. Your departure will occur as soon as possible.”
That’s it, the one and only record on paper of protracted U.S. incarceration: three sentences for four years of a young Afghan’s life, written in language Orwell would have recognized.
Former 1960s radical Bill Ayers appeared (as himself) in the 2002 documentary The Weather Underground, which was narrated by Lili Taylor.
Taylor was in High Fidelity with Tim Robbins who was in The Hudsucker Proxy with Steve Buscemi.
And Steve Buscemi was in Tanner on Tanner with, yes, Barack Obama.
That's only four degrees of separation -- a closer connection than either The Wall Street Journal or The New York Times was able to establish in their exhaustive attempts to find any links between the former '60s radical and the current Democratic nominee for president.
According to one GOP lawmaker, some House Republicans are saying privately that they’d rather “let the markets crash” than sign on to a massive bailout.
One group of House GOP lawmakers circulated an alternative that would put much less focus on a government takeover of failing institutions' sour assets. This proposal would have the government provide insurance to companies that agree to hold frozen assets, rather than have the U.S. purchase the assets.
Rep Eric Cantor, R-Va., said the idea would be to remove the burden of the bailout from taxpayers and place it, over time, on Wall Street instead. The price tag of the administration's plan to bail out tottering financial institutions — and the federal intrusion into private business matters — have been major sticking points for many Republican lawmakers.
Sec. 8. Review.
Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.
I would also allow individuals to choose to purchase health insurance across state lines, when they can find more affordable and attractive products elsewhere that they prefer. Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation.
Eight years ago, a man ran for President who claimed he was different, not a typical Republican. He called himself a reformer. He admitted that his Party, the Republican Party, had been wrong about things from time to time. He promised to work with Democrats and said he’d been doing that for a long time.
That candidate was George W. Bush. Remember that? Remember the promise to reach across the aisle? To change the tone? To restore honor and dignity to the White House?
We saw how that story ends. A record number of home foreclosures. Home values, tumbling. And the disturbing news that the crisis you’ve been facing on Main Street is now hitting Wall Street, taking down Lehman Brothers and threatening other financial institutions.
We’ve seen eight straight months of job losses. Nearly 46 million Americans without health insurance. Average incomes down, while the price of everything -- from gas to groceries -- has skyrocketed. A military stretched thin from two wars and multiple deployments.
A nation more polarized than I’ve ever seen in my career. And a culture in Washington where the very few wealthy and powerful have a seat at the table and everybody else is on the menu.
Eight years later, we have another Republican nominee who’s telling us the exact same thing:
This time it will be different, it really will. This time he’s going to put country before party, to change the tone, reach across the aisle, change the Republican Party, change the way Washington works.
We’ve seen this movie before, folks. But as everyone knows, the sequel is always worse than the original.
I, Robin Hamilton Dickerson Zimmermann of Silver Spring, Maryland in the United States of America, henceforth declare, until such time as I may choose otherwise, that all works I create for which own the copyright shall be released to the public domain after twenty-eight years, save where I make a specific exception or where a contractual agreement into which I willingly enter states otherwise.
A couple days ago, as I was browsing Project Gutenberg, I was startled to discover that several of H. Beam Piper's stories are available and in the public domain. I was amazed at this for one simple reason: almost nothing published after 1923 is in the public domain in the U.S.
Let me say that again for emphasis. Almost nothing after 1923. This is a travesty.
In 1841, one Thomas Macaulay spoke at long and eloquent length against an extension of copyright to a mere sixty years after the author's death. (Current U.S. law grants seventy.) I thought for a moment to excerpt an especially appropriate sentence or two from these speeches, but a moments' reading left me near quoting the entire thing – I shall instead merely bulletize the most salient points, leaving off Macaulay's erudite prose:
The passage of a hundred and sixty-five years has not changed these facts. (A hundred and sixty-six, now, but the temptation to point to various modern personages making the same points could not be resisted.) The fact that the word "copyright" makes the privilege sound inalienable has no bearing. These long terms of copyright encourage speculation by people rich enough to afford it, and actively suppress innovation by preventing the use of what has already been created. (Remember: someone had to invent the idea of alphabetizing.)
I don't know why H. Beam Piper failed to renew his copyrights. The fact that these expired after twenty-eight years as a consequence is a mere coincidence of U.S. law. But it's a good thing that, say, Omnilingual is in the public domain now – the story is historically significant. And if, somehow, anything I make matters the way that did, I'd want no less for it.
Edit: Making Light has another post on intellectual property that links back here – highly recommended reading. Also: anonymous comments are now open, but something's funky with Livejournal's comment notification system, so I might not reply right away. Gmail address is robin.zimm if you want to contact me directly. Blue arrow for replying, or click here.
Edit 2: Chris Sullins has spotted an important error in Point 2, indicated – the intended statement was that the law should equate the marginal harm and marginal good.
Crane says he was disappointed with Romney's answer to his question the other night. Crane asked if Romney believed the president should have the authority to arrest U.S. citizens with no review. Romney said he would want to hear the pros and cons from smart lawyers before he made up his mind. Crane said that he had asked Giuliani the same question a few weeks ago. The mayor [Giuliani] said that he would want to use this authority infrequently. (emphasis added)
You are not required to obey an unlawful order.
You are required to disobey an unlawful order.
You swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
The Constitution states (Article VI):
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.
Here is article 3, the common article, to the Geneva Conventions, a duly ratified treaty made under the authority of the United States:
In the case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties, each party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum, the following provisions:
1. Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.
To this end the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:
(a) Violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;
(b) Taking of hostages;
(c) Outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment;
(d) The passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.
2. The wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for.
An impartial humanitarian body, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, may offer its services to the Parties to the conflict.
The Parties to the conflict should further endeavour to bring into force, by means of special agreements, all or part of the other provisions of the present Convention.
The application of the preceding provisions shall not affect the legal status of the Parties to the conflict.
Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions is straightforward and clear. Under Article VI of the Constitution, it forms part of the supreme law of the land.
You personally will be held responsible for all of your actions, in all countries, at all times and places, for the rest of your life. “I was only following orders” is not a defense.
What all this is leading to:
If you are ordered to violate Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, it is your duty to disobey that order. No “clarification,” whether passed by Congress or signed by the president, relieves you of that duty.
If you are ordered to violate Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, this is what to do:
1. Request that your superior put the order in writing.
2. If your superior puts the order in writing, inform your superior that you intend to disobey that order.
3. Request trial by courtmartial.
You will almost certainly face disciplinary action, harassment of various kinds, loss of pay, loss of liberty, discomfort and indignity. America relies on you and your courage to face those challenges.
We, the people, need you to support and defend the Constitution. I am certain that your honor and patriotism are equal to the task.
I have been told a thousand times at least, in the years I have spent reporting on the astonishing and repugnant abuses, lies and failures of the Bush administration, to watch my back. "Be careful," people always tell me. "These people are capable of anything. Stay off small planes, make sure you aren't being followed." A running joke between my mother and me is that she has a "safe room" set up for me in her cabin in the woods, in the event I have to flee because of something I wrote or said.
I always laughed and shook my head whenever I heard this stuff. Extreme paranoia wrapped in the tinfoil of conspiracy, I thought. This is still America, and these Bush fools will soon pass into history, I thought. I am a citizen, and the First Amendment hasn't yet been red-lined, I thought.
Matters are different now.