Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Gendered Language and Positions of Responsibility, or, "Yes, Prime Ministress"

GENDER/LANGUAGE: Rejecting the Derogatory 'Feminine' By Miren Gutierrez and Oriana Boselli

"ROME, Dec 26 (IPS) - What happens to language and the way women are addressed when they start to occupy positions of responsibility? Well, it depends on the language."

Spanish leans to the feminine form of the word, while Italian simply applies the masculine form regardless of the person's actual testosterone levels - 'il ministro' to minister Mara Cafagna, who is a woman. Hm.

Some interesting notes on the "dynamic of the exception" in the sidebar article, so be sure to read that. My male readers, I trust, will be able to take it seriously because it is espoused by fellow men. So it can't just be radical man-haters, right?!

(Oh, how I long for the Revolution, when all obstreperal lobes will be free from patriarchy-induced explosions and we spinster aunts can lounge about with our margaritas in total comfort. In the meantime I console myself with I Blame the Patriarchy. I mean, shit, people, these languages's NOUNS have GENDER. Girl nouns! Boy nouns! On the one hand, ew. On the other hand, maybe it's more honest, you know?)

Monday, December 28, 2009

This is Just a Great Description of Someone

The Mexicans of Mexico On "Wab."

"The final word on 'wab' goes to Dr. Armin Schwegler, a professor in UC Irvine's Department of Spanish and Portuguese who specializes in dialectology and Spanish in the United States. He's taught at the school for 20 years and drops language trivia like some people default on their house payments."

It's just that this particular simile is unique to the current economic situation. It makes me wonder what someone 15 years from now might think reading it. (Hopefully, they won't understand the comparison but will still get it from context...)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Oil Spill - one of worst on the North Slope

Spill is one of worst on the North Slope

"Officials have found a 24-inch jagged rupture in a pipeline that began pouring oil and water Nov. 29, creating one of the biggest North Slope crude oil spills ever."

One ice plug was more than a quarter of a mile long. Shit howdy.

Note, by the way, the following:

"They've used Bobcats to scoop up the mess and vehicles called Rolligons with huge, low-pressure tires to haul it away. They're building an ice road for trucks, though the weather at times has been too warm for the ice road work."

Ice roads are a common concept in this kind of environment...and now the weather ON THE NORTH FUCKING SLOPE has been "too warm" for an ice road. I have varying pairs of words to state at this point: Global Warming. Climate Change. We're Fucked.

And it ain't just about ice plugs, neighbors. It's about permafrost melting. It's about ice roads. It's about subsistence living that depends on ice and permafrost and pipeline maintenance and spill cleanup that depends on ice and permafrost. It's about the rules changing dramatically.

Check this out:

US National Assessment of the Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change Educational Resources Regional Paper: Alaska With regards to oil pipelines: "The pipeline's support structures are designed for specific ranges of ground temperatures, and are subject to heaving or collapse if the permafrost thaws. Replacing them, if required, would cost about $2 million per mile."

Because of climate change, "the hard-frozen conditions needed to support ice roads around the North Slope oil fields now exist for only about 100 days a year. . . . Thirty years ago, oil companies could use ice roads for about 200 days of the year." Global warming devastating native Alaskans. See also, Warmer climate creates engineering challenges, Kenai Peninsula Online.

Can't fix it if you can't get to it.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Awesome 2001: Doctor Who video mashup

That's just NEAT. 2001: A Who Odyssey.

Nooooooooo!

No, slacktivist, stop reviewing "Tribulation Force"! The train wreck of it - can't...turn...away.

A great way to learn about writing is to read a lot of it, good and bad, and think about it. But oh, god, is this stuff painful.

http://slacktivist.typepad.com/slacktivist/2009/11/tf-showdown-letdown.html

But the commentary is lovely! Check this out:

So far in Tribulation Force, the Buck pages are outnumbering the Rayford pages by more than 2-to-1. And even when we do check in briefly with Buck's co-star here it's mainly in order to eavesdrop on Chloe's side of Buck's romantic subplot, in which Rayford plays the role of the nurse in Romeo and Juliet.


*snigger*

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Honestly, I Thought It Was _The Onion_, at First

Kellogg Plant Flood Triggers Eggo Waffle Shortage

We are working around the clock to restore Eggo store inventories to normal levels as quickly as possible," Charles said in the e-mail.


You kids have it easy today, going a day or two without your Eggo waffles. Why, I remember the Pancake Riots of '86, how we battled for our lives in the Great Syrup Catastrophe of '91. Oh, the humanity!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Ha. Finally A 'Good' Reason to Care About Environment

'Cuz if you don't, you'll get turned into a girly-man. Plastic chemicals 'feminise boys'.

warning: this post contains both sarcasm and news.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Wow, cool.

Sniff test to preserve old books

Researchers report in the journal Analytical Chemistry that a new "sniff test" can measure degradation of old books and historical documents.


That's just neat.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Excellent Things

Steve @ Now This has started a trend: excellent things. As in, list them.

OK. I like that.

1. The webcomic 'Digger', by Ursula Vernon. It's weird, it's beautifully drawn, and I love it. Excellent!
2. The webcomic/printcomic 'The Dreamer', by Lora Innes. Set in today and the Revolutionary War, it's just so so so cool. Excellent!
3. Living Harvest's hemp milk. Delicious. I don't drink milk b/c of my allergy, even though I've fallen off the wagon and eat cheese and chocolate right now, I have never been able to bring myself to buy milk. So I've tried a lot of milk substitutes over the years, and I picked up a carton of hemp milk, made from hemp seeds, at The Hempest, a store in Boston, and loved it. And now, look! Hemp milk at Whole Foods just down the street from my apartment! Excellent!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

You *Assholes*

I do NOT cuss in print lightly (anymore...well, ever). Domestic violence as a pre-existing condition? Are you fucking kidding me?

Treating Domestic Violence as a Preexisting Condition is Only One Example of the Rampant Sexism in the Healthcare Debate

Our health care system is broken. BROKEN. Not to mention the sexism.

Domestic Violence is a "Pre-existing Condition?"

BROKEN. How can anyone in their right mind not want to break the monopoly, rationing, and overall control of these companies that stand between us and receiving health care?

Wow, cool!

A skull that rewrites the history of man It has long been agreed that Africa was the sole cradle of human evolution. Then these bones were found in Georgia...

Ooooo. I love a good mystery!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Glass Microbes

Glass Microbiology Suddenly, my Ebola virus plushie seems quaint.

We Just Don't Call it 'Rationing'

We Ration. We Ration. We Ration. We Ration.

"We ration. We ration without discussion, remorse or concern. We ration health care the way we ration other goods: We make it too expensive for everyone to afford."

Thousands Line Up for Promise of Free Health Care

Remote Area Medical - started in 1985 as a mobile health clinic serving undeveloped countries and later rural America - comes to L.A., and THOUSANDS of people show up for care because they can't afford it otherwise. A telling quote from one of the patients, "You know when you haven’t seen a doctor in so many years you have a lot of questions."

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Senator Kennedy's Legacy

So, what did he do?, courtesy of TwistedChick, a long-trusted news and news aggregation source.

Thoughts on Excellence

Kilohana Men in the Duke Kahanamoku Race 2007 (hat tip to Kate Elliot. Thanks, Kate!). Watching this made me misty-eyed for two reasons. One, I've become a sap in my old age.[*] Two, it is a joy to see a thing done well, and with passion, because I believe in doing all things well, and with passion. This is why we admire athletes - who do a thing and do it well. This is why we admire all those who achieve excellence and pity those who have never reached for it in the entirety of their lives. To do a thing well, to strive to do that thing well - whether it is writing legal briefs, writing code, singing, dancing, stand-up comedy, playing basketball, or whatever it is that you consider worth doing - is an important part of the human experience, and may even be the quintessential human experience. What a marvel is humanity, when we do a thing and do it well.







[*] OK, it's more complex than that, but, I have.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Lion of the Senate - Gone

Obituary: Edward Kennedy (at BBC News)

It's interesting to me that on NPR this morning they kept talking about how Kennedy got stuff done regardless of which party controlled the White House. He stood firm on his principles of public service and progressive ideals. It's standing firm and working both sides of the aisle to achieve real results, not pseudo-partisan "compromises," that gets things done. Current Democratic senators and representatives, take heed. You can't give away your goal to get your goal.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

"There's a force stronger than nature, keeps her will alive"

So, it's obvious I hope that this blog is on its last legs. I never write, I never call. Tut, tut. Don't know if it'll change or not, as I seem to be doing more "Sidra the Writer" type stuff on livejournal/dreamwidth, which, doesn't mean much anyway, and the purpose of this blog is political and social commentary, and writing.

We'll see what happens.

Anyway. There are times when one wishes to bust out in song, not to celebrate anything in particular, and not in a 76 trombones musical kind of way (or even a Victor/Victoria kind of way) but just bust out in song because it's been too long since the last time you busted out. So last night Freddie Mercury bust out in my head, champion that he is, and I regaled my neighbors I suppose, with a little a cappella "We Are the Champions". Yeah, baby, sing it! I miss Freddie Mercury. I miss the music of my childhood and youth, but is it that it's better music (and by what metric?) or is it that it's the music of my childhood and youth, before life got more and more difficult, and so many burdens accreted that now I feel like my own planetary disk. Feel free to spin off a small planet, oh, debt, oh loneliness, oh people who've fucked themselves over whom I cannot save. Spin off and orbit around me if you must, though I'd much rather you went all rogue planet on me and departed my gravitational well entirely.

Sigh. So much for astronomical metaphors.

Three links make a post, my friends:

Bitchin cool, as they used to say: Shepardess makes bridal gown from wool of her own sheep. It looks really cool, seriously, you gotta click on this.

Eunice Kennedy Shriver dies. I admire the Kennedy ethic greatly - with great gifts, comes the obligation to use them in service of others. Funny how the (frequently republican) politicos forget that the little people whom they oft disdain so much are in fact the people they are supposed to be working for.

I've been reading Iroquois Diplomacy on the American Frontier, let me tell you all about it.

Friday, July 24, 2009

mini-update

Grandma, dead.

Awesome wedding entrance video. That's how to do it, baby.

Phase change in Alaska as the permafrost melts - and lakes disappear. Alaska Meltdown.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Wow, do I love Jimmy Carter

I always loved him before, for living his principles, unlike so many who claim said principles and then defile them - that's a rant for another time - but I love him even more now.

The Words of God Do Not Justify Cruelty to Women.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

kidnapping? Yes, Sidra, kidnapping?

From the Sidra is Incredibly Dense and Incredibly Lucky Department.

So, this guy stalked and tried to kidnap me when I was 18 or 19. Actually, he tried to kidnap me and then stalked me. It took me 20 years and a student patron at the law library needing to look up information on attempt as a crime for me to realize that. I am so incredibly fucking stupid. I have also always thought that I used up all my luck in this life long ago, but now I wonder how I survived the car accident in the 90s at all, because, shit howdy, some guy tried to kidnap me and I got away unscathed 20 years ago. My luck should have been used up right then. No more. Holy crap. How is it that I am alive? No, seriously. And I should've plunged through the ice and drowned in Wasilla Lake years before that. I should have been raped and murdered in 1980. I mean, holy fucking cow. How many more near misses can one human have?

I wonder if the stalking afterward qualifies as renewed attempts to kidnap. That could be an interesting law school exam question.

(Attempt to commit a crime is a criminal act, but you generally need more than mere preparation to commit the crime, and to perform an act to actually "attempt" the crime. To pluck a not-at-all random example out of my past, try, say, putting your hand on my arm and trying to pull me into your car when I say "no" after you invite me into your car. Conspiracy to commit a crime works similarly.)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Imaginary Threats, You Mean

Imagining Threats, aka, Risk Analysis and Cognitive Biases.

Dusting off my software designer hat -- oh, this is so damn true.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

On the Mind Control of Women Through Rape Fear

Fear is the mind-killer, or, fearful women are easy to control, aren't they?

Stoking that fear is an incredibly effective way to control women's lives, because although it's impossible to avoid all situations where rape might occur, it's possible to take precautions like, oh, making sure you have a male protector whenever that's possible, or avoiding activities where such protection might not be possible. It's the 21st century; anyone who says that women should be dependent on and subservient to men because of some innate gender determined traits is going to get laughed at. But if someone says that women should behave in a way which is tantamount to that, because unfortunate though it is, we live in an imperfect world and there are some evil men out there who might rape you if you don't follow your properly circumscribed feminine role, that's credible.

I agree with Sara

Memo to the Right Wing: Put Up or Shut Up, or, Are you Trying to Start a Civil War? Yes or No?

Tragedy at the Holocaust Museum: Stand Up To Terror. "As I've noted before, groups heading toward major acts of violence always inch up to it by degrees." Egged on by right-wing hatemongers like Rush Limbaugh.

Eight episodes of right-wing extremist violence in four and a half months. We haven't gone four weeks since February without some poor guy -- always with a long history of mental illness, usually with a record of military service and/or domestic violence, and invariably jacked up on a toxic cocktail of white male privilege; us-versus-them enemy seeking; fury at women, blacks and/or Jews; and a belief that the world as he knew it was ending unless he took up arms -- taking out his gun and offing innocent Americans in a suicidal bid for glory.

For the record: This is not business as usual. True: there have always been occasional events, usually dismissed by the corporate media as "isolated incidents," the work of "lone wolf shooters" acting for reasons all their own. But you have to go back a long, long way in American history before you come to a place where you find incidents like this happening an average of once every two weeks. And the chattering classes are finally beginning to realize what those of us who've been faithfully watching the right wing for years were telling them a year ago: there's nothing isolated about any of this.

This is how terrorism begins.


The Far Right's First 100 Days: Shifting Into Overdrive

Somewhere back in February, about three weeks into the Obama Administration, everybody on the left suddenly noticed that there was something different going on with the conservatives. The outrageous screeds and paranoid delusions sounded pretty much as they always had -- but there was a new fury behind them, a strident urgency that hadn't been there before, and a very audible shift of the gears in right-wing behavior and rhetoric. None of this came as a surprise to veteran right-wing watchers -- we'd been predicting a bad backlash since the 2006 election -- but three months into the new administration, it's increasingly hard to ignore the fact that this ominous new trend is taking on a momentum of its own.

On April 7, the Department of Homeland Security ratified some of those observations. Fueled by bone-deep racism, an unnatural terror of liberal government, frustration over the economic downturn, and fears about America's loss of world standing, they said, the militant right wing is indeed rising again. Their numbers are up, their talk is turning ugly, and it's not unthinkable that we could be in for a wave of domestic terrorism unseen since the mid-90s.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

David Simon is right

I disagree with the remark "the parasite is killing the host," as I don't believe that bloggers and other commentators relying on professional journalists are killing their work by discussing it. He proceeds, however, to the real point, which is that those journalists need funding in order to commit journalism, and that "citizen journalists" most of the time are citizen commentators, and if they want to commit journalism, they need to become professional journalists in order to achieve that goal. In which case they need funding, resources, etc. His remarks about citizen journalists are not as kind as my paraphrase, but that's OK. Where he's coming from is generally correct.

David Simon's testimony to Senate committee

If we were a different country, a public-funding approach might work. If we set it up right, even in this country a public-funding approach might work. (Setting it up right requires that funding be guaranteed, and not at the whim of Congress or an Executive. I just don't know how that could be done.)

That leaves us with non-profits taking over papers - and that's an EXTREMELY interesting idea, or for-pay subscription models to access content (or both!). I pay $70 a year (starting this year) for access to the Encyclopedia Britannica because I need to be able to trust my content source. I would be willing to pay for a subscription to something else, too.

What bothers me about much of the for-pay subscription models I've encountered thus far with newspaper websites is the per-article approach. If I'm going to have to pay, I want to pay once (a year), like I would to pay for a print newspaper subscription, or once per day, like I would for a single issue of a paper. It has to be easy to pay and then when I come to a newspaper's website, I want access to the whole damn thing (save, perhaps, some custom archive from 150 years ago that requires an additional subscription or something, that would make sense, I suppose.) The freebie articles offered as loss leaders simply annoy me. And confusing, because after my first click I don't know what I have access to and what I don't.

I would also be highly intrigued by an AP or Reuters subscription service, or a multi-paper subscription service. I like reading multiple articles on the same subject across different papers to sniff out the bias. It's useful.

Simon's remarks about loosening antitrust restrictions go in that direction, but I worry that we'd open the door to further monopolization of the industry, and we already have one or two organizations with too damn much power and influence to begin with, so I'm not sure how to achieve the one (aggregate subscription services) without the other (centralized monopolistic corporate providers that are really all one provider). Dunno.

Friday, May 15, 2009

More military tribunals for GTMO Detainees?

Obama 'to revive military trials'

The BBC's Adam Brookes in Washington says the president may have decided that trying detainees such as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed - the man who allegedly planned 9/11 - in a civilian court in the US would be simply too complex and too difficult.


That is such bullshit. If it's that complex, you get a special master or something. There's ways to accommodate such a need in the system already.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Mormon Baptism after Death

I have multiple reactions to this Mormon practice of posthumous baptisms of strangers. Temple baptism rites performed for Obama's mother in Provo LDS temple

On the one hand, to try and change someone's religion after their death is an astounding act of hubris. "We know so much better than you," such an act says, "that we will change your religion after death." Moreover, God will let them? How does that work? According to Church doctrine, per the article: "The Church does not list persons as members of the Church or 'Mormons' merely because proxy baptisms have been performed. Church doctrine teaches that at some point the spirit of the deceased person will be informed that a baptism has been performed on his or her behalf and will be given the opportunity to accept or reject it." So, the damned are screaming in some pit somewhere and someone walks up and says "hi! you've received a proxy baptism!...." It's like some bizarre encyclopedia salesman skit.

On the other hand, it's cowardly. If you can't convince someone to join your religion during their lifetime, you go behind their back? How is that doing unto others, for that matter?

Finally, but most importantly...it's really meaningless. If someone proxy baptizes me after I'm dead, I haven't done anything to change religion, so as offensive as it sounds, nothings really changed, has it?

Tea report - Adagio Teas Black Tea Sampler

So, Faz gave me a gift certificate ages ago to Adagio Teas and they nudged me a few weeks ago and reminded me to use it. So, I ordered their black tea sampler so I could, you know, sample. Here's the results:

Keemun Concerto. Interesting, mild, probably not going to be a fave but good to serve someone whose tastes you don't know.

Yunnan Jig. Smooth, pretty hearty, good on a rainy day like today. I like it.

Golden Monkey. Sort of an earthy odor in the leaves, mild, smooth flavor. Gee, that sounds like a cigar ad.

Assam Melody. I like it.

Darjeeling #22. Much as I like them all so far, this one probably says "Sidra's day-to-day tea" the most.

Ceylon Sonata. Another good Sidra Daily Tea, I think, but prefer the Darjeeling #22.

Capricorn: Freebie. Some kind of flavored custom blend. Vanilla smell, but I don't taste any. Not a fave but I'll drink the rest of it and be so adventurous as to try other flavored stuff.

I came back and had another Keemun Concerto yesterday, now that I've tried them all, and I think I like it better the second time around.

Anyway, it's a goodly amount of yummy tea for $16 and the tins are cute. I love stuff like that.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Soldiers for Christ

military prosletyzing in Afghanistan

The special forces guys - they hunt men basically. We do the same things as Christians, we hunt people for Jesus. We do, we hunt them down," he says.


I have to say, aside from the fact that the American military should not be proselytizing, that's in General Order Number One, that's a really creepy metaphor.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Cool Stuff, and Other Things

I am not in the mood to be a Serious Blogger (tm) today. Racism! Sexism! Torture! Law! Politics! Raining frogs!

There, enough for now. In other news:

Art student's car vanishing act

I will be participating in a toe-up sock knit-a-long on Ravelry, which I just joined (here's me on ravelry). Based on the newest Wendyknits book. I'm not a big sock-knitting fan, but I'm in love with some of the yarns I found at Etsy, and will knit as many pairs as I can stand to. Wendy's book: Socks from the Toe Up. I can't tell you why I'm not a big sock-knitting fan, as they seem to have all the characteristics of projects I would like - small, compact, portable, useful, etc. And yet.

Why have I not been able to download more Dollhouse episodes on iTunes? I was so happy (ok, with dialup, not 'happy' really, but happy to have the chance to see the show without spending $50/month on a cable subscription just for one TV show) about it.

Why doesn't Sidra have a cable TV subscription? I'm glad you asked. I go through phases where I'm not interested in television at all. I made a conscious decision to not subscribe to anything when I moved to my current apartment and began law school. My writing time is limited enough by having a demanding, challenging job, I don't need the distraction. And, if I have a TV, I'll watch it, even if it's crap. Which is stupid. So, I don't get TV reception. I don't miss it much, it just doesn't make sense to pay that money and have that much distraction for the pleasure of 2, maybe 3 TV shows.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

links!

1. Cool cool thing at central station in Antwerp. Op zoek naar Maria - Dans in het Centraal Station van Antwerpen I can't tell if it's a conscious performance, perhaps of the flashmob variety, or the real thing. I will state for the record, I've been part of a different similar experience that was the real thing, spontaneous and synchronized. Stranger things have happened.

2. I was disappointed yesterday to read an article about Kiva (a microlending project, check it out) that summed up why people would become lenders as "more people are investing these days" or something idiotic like that. More people are connecting to each other as people, and aware that we really are in this together. That's why I and so many other people give money to total strangers. Because we are capable of feeling someone else's pain and their desire to lift themselves up, and wanting to help even though our own resources are limited. We are all human beings, and in this together.

3. Angry that New Orleans recovery proceeding slower than surrounding areas, but not surprised.

4. Wanted to go see Watchmen tonight with a co-worker, but it's not at the theater!

5. David Neiwert is insightful as usual. As their power spirals downward, the Right's rhetoric gets nuttier and nastier. He links to Eric Boehlert's equally interesting and insightful article, Glenn Beck and the rise of Fox News' militia media.

6. Just fucking certify Al, all right? Absentee votes extend Franken lead

7. Finally watched Susan Boyle's Britain's Got Talent performance after a week of everyone telling me to see it. Holy cow. Britain's got some AWESOME talent. Someone get this woman a recording contract and put her on tour, STAT. Yaaaay, Susan!

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Glenn Beck is a douche

Who knows absolutely nothing about wind energy, obviously.

More Beck Babble: Wind power needs nukes to work

Wind, when it blows, makes energy. When it stops, you can't store it, so what's making the energy? Wind energy doesn't work without something else making energy for when the wind stops, which it does -- especially if Al Gore controls the temperature, and all the winds and everything else, so we never have blowy days!


Is this what contemporary America calls journalism or something, or is he technically a pundit and therefore granted license to be a completely ignorant blowhard? Pardon the pun.

Or, she said optimistically, is this an Andy Kaufman-esque piece of performance art?

No, probably not.

The wind is going to keep blowing, my friends, since we do not have futuristic weather-control machines. That's only in 1980s-era James Bond movies, I'm afraid.

Maybe we need "journalistish" now, to go along with "truthiness".

Karzai legalizes marital rape

Mother. Fucker.
Afghan leader accused of bid to 'legalise rape'


In a massive blow for women's rights, the new Shia Family Law negates the need for sexual consent between married couples, tacitly approves child marriage and restricts a woman's right to leave the home...


. . .

The provisions are reminiscent of the hardline Taliban regime, which banned women from leaving their homes without a male relative. But in a sign of Afghanistan's faltering steps towards gender equality, politicians who opposed it have been threatened.


Now go support the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan. http://www.rawa.org/

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Just so you know

I don't talk about my day job on this blog, much, or at all, which may be why I haven't been posting (so perhaps this policy should change, I'll think about it).

This is my firm representing these two asylum seekers:

Detained immigrants in Florida say they're not getting medical care

Brazilian migrants sue ICE over mental health care

Brazilian migrants sue ICE over mental health care

"Brazilian migrants sue ICE over mental health care"

PM2.5 NAAQS remanded to EPA

It's possible this NAAQS (national ambient air quality standard) value will not change as a result, but the discussion is illuminating: EPA failed to show how the value would protect human health, which is required by mandate. This is particularly (ahem) relevant to anyone who wants to claim that compliance with EPA regulation = protective of human health, in, say, some environmental review of a polluting project.

PM2.5 is fine particulate matter.

D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Remands Annual Fine Particulate Matter Standards, Upholds EPA's Decision on Coarse Particles

I've read the opinion and I think the D.C. Circuit does a bang-up job of articulating the standard of review and applying it propertly. Very well-written. The pm2.5 section would be good for those wanting a quick intro to clean air law.

election fraud arrests

Several Clay County Officials Arrested On Federal Charges

Five Clay County officials, including the circuit court judge, the county clerk, and election officers were arrested Thursday after they were indicted on federal charges accusing them of using corrupt tactics to obtain political power and personal gain.

The 10-count indictment, unsealed Thursday, accused the defendants of a conspiracy from March 2002 until November 2006 that violated the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). RICO is a federal statute that prosecutors use to combat organized crime. The defendants were also indicted for extortion, mail fraud, obstruction of justice, conspiracy to injure voters' rights and conspiracy to commit voter fraud.

According to the indictment, these alleged criminal actions affected the outcome of federal, local, and state primary and general elections in 2002, 2004, and 2006. The indictment accused the defendants of the following criminal actions:


It is so easy already, if you have money and want to be evil. Let's not make it even more easy using fucked up electronic voting systems. (Let me remind you all of my experience with electronic voting systems as an election inspector during the gubernatorial recall in California: Sidra Vitale, Election Official. OH, and Electronic voting systems hackable.)

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Incredible Cognitively Dissonant Conservatives

I somehow subscribed to this email news thing that's quite conservative. The level of vitriol directed at our president for spending money to stimulate the economy is impressive. And yet, today, from the same source, I get "Obama Spending Spree Could Send Stocks Soaring!" So, invest now and get in on the profits!

So, you're totally happy to profit off him if it works but tear him down for doing it in the first place? DOn't they call that biting the hand that feeds you?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

note to self

story idea involving luddite enclave with dead librarian and a wired cop whose accessories all get turned off before he's allowed in to solve the murder

Torture Report Could be Trouble for Bush Lawyers

Well, well, well. Torture Report Could be Trouble for Bush Lawyers.

An internal Justice Department report on the conduct of senior lawyers who approved waterboarding and other harsh interrogation tactics is causing anxiety among former Bush administration officials. H. Marshall Jarrett, chief of the department's ethics watchdog unit, the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), confirmed last year he was investigating whether the legal advice in crucial interrogation memos "was consistent with the professional standards that apply to Department of Justice attorneys." According to two knowledgeable sources who asked not to be identified discussing sensitive matters, a draft of the report was submitted in the final weeks of the Bush administration. It sharply criticized the legal work of two former top officials—Jay Bybee and John Yoo—as well as that of Steven Bradbury, who was chief of the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) at the time the report was submitted, the sources said. (Bybee, Yoo and Bradbury did not respond to multiple requests for comment.)

Brockton Power Plant

Many things happening with my pro bono work, not the least of which is the Board voting to permit the plant but not give it a zoning exemption, so it has to go through local (municipal) review.

Plus: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/feb/17/france-admits-deporting-jews France shows us some class whilst the pope pets holocaust deniers.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Saturday, January 24, 2009

dang

Good-bye to Andrew Wyeth, John Mortimer (creator of Rumpole of the Bailey), Ricardo Montalban, and Patrick McGoohan (#6).

QOTD

"Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men's blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans..." D. Burnham

(gacked from @nowthis, on Twitter)

Montreal is the site of the 2009 Worldcon

Hm.

a: I've never been to a Worldcon.
b: I'm really more of a fan emeritus than a fan these days.
c: Have always wanted to see Montreal.
d: Economy is bad - will I have a job in August 2009?

Hmmmm.

Maybe I Should Retire the Skeleton Motif on this Blog

Now that the Bush Administration is Over.

8 years of being angry at and about my country - which for the record, if you do not find that to be an expression of deep love, affection and true patriotism, kindly fuck off - is a long time.

Now, Obama lifted the global gag rule already....c'mon, lift Don't Ask, Don't Tell. You can do it, man. Let people serve with dignity instead of fear.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Prehistoric monument under Lake Michigan?

Stonehenge Beneath the Waters of Lake Michigan

Cool.

Really, you need to read this

The WaPo article I linked in the previous post. here.

In May 2008, Crawford ordered the war-crimes charges against Qahtani dropped but did not state publicly that the harsh interrogations were the reason. "[The torture] did shock me," Crawford said. "I was upset by it. I was embarrassed by it. If we tolerate this and allow it, then how can we object when our servicemen and women, or others in foreign service, are captured and subjected to the same techniques? How can we complain? Where is our moral authority to complain? Well, we may have lost it."

The harsh techniques used against Qahtani, she said, were approved by then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. "A lot of this happened on his watch," she said. Last month, a Senate Armed Services Committee report concluded that "Rumsfeld's authorization of aggressive interrogation techniques for use at Guantanamo Bay was a direct cause of detainee abuse there." The committee found the interrogation techniques harsh and abusive but stopped short of calling them torture.


[...]

"A prosecutor has an ethical obligation to review all the evidence before making a charging decision. And they didn't have access to all the evidence, including medical records, interrogation logs, and they were making charging decisions without looking at everything."


Ouch.

Oh, look! Lies! Misrepresentations! Government! And , Torture.

Pentagon Pushes Debunked "Returning To Terror" Hype. Gee.

Meanwhile, WaPo reports Detainee Tortured, Says U.S. Official: Trial Overseer Cites 'Abusive' Methods Against 9/11 Suspect

"We tortured [Mohammed al-]Qahtani," said Susan J. Crawford, in her first interview since being named convening authority of military commissions by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates in February 2007. "His treatment met the legal definition of torture. And that's why I did not refer the case" for prosecution.


Crawford's an alum of my law school, btw. She gave a very insightful talk as the main speaker for the last Law Day banquet I was at, last year or so.

Alaska Statehood - 50th Year

The Alaska Statehood Act was passed in July, 1958, and Alaska officially became a state in January, 1959. *waves flag* Yaaaaaay.

Interesting factoid: The National Municipal League called the Alaska Constitution one of the best ever written. (according to this brief history)

When I was little, I predicted Alaska would secede. (I was very little.) Hey, it could happen, but now that I'm a lawyer (and, allegedly, a grown-up), I understand better how such bonds can be difficult to dissolve.

Still, sometimes I wonder what it really gets out of being part of the U.S. Except for, you know, keeping me from having grown up in the Soviet Union. (But...I wonder if the Soviet Union would have extended across the Bering Strait in the first place. Hmmmmm. I smell a story idea in there somewhere.)

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Ringing in the New Year with "The Thin Man" movies

They're not really screwball comedy. They're more...screwball comedic mysteries. Anyways, everyone in the family knows I love screwball comedy and strive someday to write like Connie Willis (Willis fans should understand the connection), so, the Thin Man Collection (all 5 or 6 films) was a very logical gift.

Thursday, January 01, 2009