It occurs to me that when the IAU thoughtlessly booted Pluto from the "Big Planets Club", that was a little bit like "Blogroll Amnesty Day".
Seven months after a conclave of scientists downgraded the distant heavenly body to a "dwarf planet," a state representative in New Mexico aims to give the snubbed world back some of its respect. State lawmakers will vote Tuesday on a bill that proposes "as Pluto passes overhead through New Mexico's excellent night skies, it be declared a planet."
Read the rest here.
Saturday, March 10, 2007
Posted by Renee in Ohio at 8:01 PM
Originally posted March 6
Well... An Infinite Being (I can't believe in a finite God) would perceive cause and effect, action and reaction simultaneously. So, for God to create all there is (exactly as it is) by setting up a few simple rule before the Big Bang isn't such a crap shoot. Why build the Universe atom by atom when I can just tell the atoms how to behave and send the Universe out to build itself? Wouldn't every part of that construction have some key into the whole? Our pursuit of knowledge of the Infinite is only natural.
That's not religious thinking in the traditional sense, but it certainly is a thoughtful approach to examining life's mysteries. Over the years I've seen the way Demetrius thinks through these things, and have also seen how his understanding of the Big Picture guides his understanding of moral behavior. If you understand yourself as interconnected with All That Is, hopefully your behavior toward others will reflect that. And in his case, I believe it does. And that impresses me more than someone who identifies as Christian but whose behavior is the opposite of what Jesus taught. Yet, I know there are people who explictly state that they prefer to do business with a Christian-owned company, thinking that will assure them a certain ethical standard.
But on the other hand, I have seen plenty of evidence in my years of blogging that some people make automatic negative assumptions about people who identify as Christian, or Evangelical Christian, or Roman Catholic. That's not fair either. Nor is it reasonable to demand that, if one is the member of a particular religious group, one must spend all sorts of time "denouncing" every wrong that has ever been perpetrated by a member of that religion.
My conclusion? One that I think should be self-evident: any one piece of information about an individual, whether it be religious affiliation, race, where they went to school, etc., tells us very little about who they are. You can fill in a bubble on a form, or answer a question on a survey and say that you are Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Humanist, or what have you. But I really don't know what that means to you unless I ask you, with a genuine curiosity, and with the willingness to check my assumptions at the door.
Posted by Renee in Ohio at 6:37 PM
The topic below was originally posted in my blog, the Intrepid Liberal Journal.
Posted by Robert Ellman at 3:52 PM
this isn't a zero sum game. we don't subtract from one site when we add another, we expand the chorus calling for change.hear that, markos, and to a lesser extent, duncan?
Friday, March 9, 2007
Here's as much of it as I can stand to listen to a second time and transcribe. I really think Gibson is not a nice man. And since I'm trying to give up hating people for Lent (okay, maybe just "cut back"), I probably shouldn't listen to him too much. If I had to spend much more time enduring his snide stereotyping of "the left", I might start swearing like a--like a Maryscott. ;)
Yup, I think so too. But I'm not mad at him. I'm just tired of him being in the way of people who want to talk about issues like election irregularities, impeachment, or whatever else might scare off deep pockets advertisers. And I'm tired of the farce that posting on his blog can be considered "netroots outreach" by politicians. It isn't. It's a gated community. And since Markos has indeed secured himself, but *not* the rest of us, a "seat at the table", I'm just not all that impressed. It's not *real* outreach, it's just for show.
Our elected and hoping-to-be elected officials are only willing to connect with the netroots by posting on a blog that is one man's privately owned business? One where the the top ad spot goes for $9000 a week? That's not outreach--it's theater.
Pathetic, crappy theater. And it makes a mockery of the true democratic potential so many of us see in the internet. I became active politically because I cared enough about reversing the damage caused by the Bush administration that I was willing to give up some of my precious, limited free time to do whatever I could that might help make a real difference. I *don't* think it's worth spending precious time and energy in order to play some 21st century version of Dungeons and Dragons where can pretend I'm a bit player in this "gate crashing" fantasy.
Posted by Renee in Ohio at 8:46 PM
Via Huffington Post:
The Huffington Post can confirm that the Nevada Democratic Party has decided to back out of a Fox News-sponsored presidential debate in August following Fox President Roger Ailes's recent remarks comparing Democratic Senator Barack Obama to al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden.
Click for the rest.
Update: Here's the statement from MoveOn.org.
I'm scheduled to be a call-in guest today, at 5pm pacifc, 8pm eastern, on the right wing radio nutfest that is...Click here for details.
Posted by Renee in Ohio at 1:31 PM
click to enlarge
You know, they are still killing witches these days.
Two elderly women accused of practicing witchcraft in Papua New Guinea were tortured and murdered by a group of men who dragged their bodies to a riverbank and burnt them, police say.
And not far from Salem, Massachusetts, the site of America's first witch trial, there is another one going on right now in Long Island.
A former teacher fired from her job at a Hampton Bays elementary school has filed a $2 million federal lawsuit, claiming she was improperly dismissed because the administration and others thought she was a witch.
The war of Christianity against Pagan religions is nothing new and been hot and heavy for a couple of thousand years now. It flared up here in the US a few years back when then US Rep. Bob Barr sought to deny Wiccans in the Army the right to practice their faith.
If you consider the broader definition of Paganism: a faith which is positive, life-affirming and Earth-centric, Paganism is the second largest religious group in America encompassing not only Wiccans, Druids and other Euro-centric ancient faiths, but the Dharmic religions, Native Americans, native Hawaiians and all the indigenous religions of Africa, South America, Asia and Oceania.
Don't believe me? Try this test. Go to your local Barnes and Noble and measure the shelf space dedicated to New Age, Hindu, Buddhist and other Pagan topics. Now go to the section on Christianity and measure the shelf space. Do the same for Judaism and Islam.
See the difference? Someone has to be buying all those Scott Cunningham books.
Thursday, March 8, 2007
ALACHUA -- The city of Alachua will move forward with holding its elections, the city commission voted Tuesday, March 6, in an emergency meeting. The vote included allowing the elections' three challengers until 4 p.m. March 7 to "fix the deficiencies" in their qualification papers.Click here to read the entire article and here for an article about Charlie Grapski that appeared in Raw Story last year. See also The Dirty South, which appeared in L.A. CityBeat last year.
Posted by Renee in Ohio at 9:20 PM
I forgot this was today. Better late than never, I guess.
Celebrated on 8 March, International Women's Day (IWD) is the global day connecting all women around the world and inspiring them to achieve their full potential. IWD celebrates the collective power of women past, present and future.Click the graphic above to learn more.
Posted by Renee in Ohio at 6:55 PM
From the Stop Big Media blog, Columbus Speaks Out Against Consolidation:
Nearly 400 people packed into the Broad Street Presbyterian Church in Columbus, Ohio Wednesday night to testify for more than four hours about the threat of sweeping changes to the nation’s media ownership rules.Click here for the rest.
Posted by Renee in Ohio at 6:26 PM
Via The News Blog:
Click here for the rest, and to post a comment with your prayers and best wishes
Posted by Renee in Ohio at 4:41 PM
This excerpt comes from a particularly insightful comment by madscientist
Causes left and right tend to spawn leaders, sometimes by accident. They may been someone who is in the right place at the right time. They may particularly devoted to a cause. They may become some uber-leader's boyfriend. Sometimes they just begin to be looked on as a leader. (I have no idea if any of these is true of markos.)Read the full comment here.
skippy sent a fax this morning to sen. reid's office:
i write to express my extreme displeasure at the news that the nevada democratic party has deemed it acceptable for fox news channel to broadcast the reno debate in august.if you're interested, reid's office fax number is 202-224-7327 and the phone number is 202-224-3542.
addendum: over at mydd, several commenters suggest we contribute to edwards' campaign and send them an email thanking them and explaining our contribution. also, if any other candidates withdraw, do the same for them.
it is our suggestion that all contributions end with .08 cents, to signify it came from the netroots for this cause.
click to enlarge
For a modern day example of what a border fence will do to us, we need to look at Israel and Palestine. This report is shameful.
What difference does it make? What does make a difference is the appalling question of what prompted a soldier, or a Border Policeman, to open fire from a long way off at the boy and then to leave him bleeding on the ground until he died. What goes through the mind of the shooter, in the moments before and after he takes the life of an adolescent, who was in no way putting anyone at risk - even if he touched a fence that must not be touched? Three fences surround the abandoned airport, and last Sunday we saw no hole in any of them, three days after the unnecessary, criminal shooting.
Fences and wall never work and leave nothing but disaster in their wake. Congress chats a lot about jobs, employment and economic consequences of a border fence, but they have yet too look deeper into the social consequences of such an atrocity.
Conservatives sure do love their gay prostitutes, don't they? First it was Jimmyjeff Gannonguckert, now Matt Sanchez, darling of CPAC because he's a Latino gay military conservative.
In September 2005, I wrote a column for the campus newspaper that blasted the anti-military bias among my fellow students at Columbia University. In addition to being an American studies major at Columbia, I am a Marine Corps reservist, and my comrades in arms were proud of me once that column had turned into appearances on "The O'Reilly Factor" and "Hannity & Colmes" and an opinion piece for the New York Post. None of those media outlets knew who I had been before I was a Marine, an Ivy Leaguer and an outspoken defender of the military.
Yes, it does, Matt. And you're wrong -- no one on the left cares about your past in gay porn. Unlike the people you're sucking up to on the right, we believe that what consenting adults do is their own business. Now, I can't speak for anyone in the gay community, but from where this 100% heterosexual, 20+ years married, middle-aged lapsed Jewish suburban woman is standing, you are not just a hypocrite, but are wrestling with a good bit of self-loathing.
I refuse to associate with any activities sponsored by A.N.S.W.E.R., because their pro-Palestinian view is NOT limited to opposition to Israeli government policy, but veers over into anti-Semitism. I won't associate with groups that hate people like me, nor will I support them or help them to gain power. So why on earth are you willing to associate with people like Ann Coulter and the rest of the crew? Why are you willing to associate with someone who refers to gay marriage as "insane"? Why on earth would you want to associate with people who profess to hate everything that you are? And even if they don't (which I wonder about, since the Republican party and its allies seem to be rife with barely-closeted gay men and women), why would you want to associate yourself with people who are willing to sacrifice YOU on the altar of their drooling, ignorant Jeebofascist base?
Matt, there is help for you -- not help to "cure" homosexuality, but help so that you can better accept yourself and stop allowing yourself to be used by people who would wipe you off the face of the earth if they thought they could get away with it. But you cannot expect to align yourself with the moral scolds of the right and expect your hypocrisy to not be fair game.
(cross-posted at Brilliant at Breakfast)
Wednesday, March 7, 2007
Via Yahoo News
By an overwhelming voice vote, Middlebury called for impeachment.Click here for the rest.
It's not that I wish I were home all day to be able to write something brilliant when Big News Breaks, because that would mean that I was unemployed. And if it's a choice between designing return address logos and reformatting user and design specifications or being home to blog but living in constant gnawing fear about being able to pay the bills, well, that's a no-brainer.
Tuesday, March 6, 2007
Just spotted this diary at My Left Wing.
...CJ emailed me today to let me know that My Left Wing had caught the eye of Cyrano's Journal Online and wanted to tell me how much appreciation there was thereabouts for MLW.Click to read all the nice things they have to say about My Left Wing. Very cool.
Posted by Renee in Ohio at 3:26 PM
Monday, March 5, 2007
Posted by Renee in Ohio at 7:33 PM
Grrr! Yesterday I thought I'd found a good solution for including posters who would prefer to stick with Blogger/Blogspot. Because Wordpress allow you to import posts from other blogs, I figured that I could have those people sign up as contributors on a mirror site I set up on Blogspot, and then I could simply import those posts so that they would display here as well. I have used this feature a number of times, so I had every reason to believe it would work this time as well.
Sigh. The best laid plans of mice...
It is *not* working. Here's what I've gotten the first half dozen or so times I've tried to import posts from the new Blogspot version of this site.
Trouble signing in
We were not able to gain access to your account. Try starting over.
No idea why that is, or if it's a temporary issue, or something related to the switch to the new Blogger. Will try again tomorrow, though.
Posted by Renee in Ohio at 7:16 PM
The topic below was originally posted in the Intrepid Liberal Journal on Saturday, March 3rd.
"The prison-industrial complex is not only a set of interest groups and institutions. It is also a state of mind. The lure of big money is corrupting the nation's criminal-justice system, replacing notions of safety and public service with a drive for higher profits. The eagerness of elected officials to pass tough-on-crime legislation — combined with their unwillingness to disclose the external and social costs of these laws — has encouraged all sorts of financial improprieties."Ultimately, the incarceration industry helped keep much of American society, especially young black men, in a cycle of despair. For example, my home state of New York operated under the Rockefeller Drug laws for over thirty plus years and incarcerated non-violent offenders of drug possession for ridiculously long sentences. Meanwhile, more violent criminals were paroled and their recidivism rates were high.
Sadly, in New York the issue remained largely un-addressed as Governor Mario Cuomo fed the correctional facilities construction beast with more money and contracts. His successor, George Pataki promised to repeal the Rockefeller laws when he took office in 1994 but he didn’t deliver until 2004.
The issue seemed to peak politically during the last years of the Clinton Administration as Schlosser’s article helped garner coverage for public figures who spoke about it such as the Reverend Jesse Jackson. Since then some organized opposition emerged. A political interest group called Critical Resistance formed to raise public awareness about moral failures in the corrections industry and,
“build an international movement to end the Prison Industrial Complex by challenging the belief that caging and controlling people makes us safe. We believe that basic necessities such as food, shelter, and freedom are what really make our communities secure.”Two states worth watching are California and New York. On February 19th, Neal Peirce of the Hampshire Gazette profiled both states in his article, “Growth of the US Prison Industry.” His article was posted in the The Real Cost of Prisons Weblog.
Peirce reports that Governor Eliot Spitzer wants a commission to consider the merits of closing some of New York State’s dozens of prisons. This was also covered on February 5th in the New York Times (subscription required). New York's prison population peaked at 71,000 inmates in 1999 but has dropped by 8,000 the past eight years.
Crime reduction in New York City is the major cause as well as reform efforts to find treatment for non-violent offenders. No doubt the corrections industry will lobby Albany hard to maintain the status quo but Spitzer has demonstrated his fondness for picking fights.
Meanwhile, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is pressing for $11 billion in bonds to add 78,000 beds to California's expanding prison population. Currently, California has 173,000 inmates costing the Sunshine state $8 billion. Peirce quotes a California senior prison official warning that overcrowding and threats of riots are,
"an imminent and substantial threat to the public.''Peirce also notes that,
“Thirty years ago California's prison system was hailed as America's best, providing education and psychotherapy for offenders.”Critical Resistance posted the following about California on their website in January:
”Dear Friends,New York of course endured the shameful Attica prison riot of 1971 that resulted in the aforementioned Rockefeller drug laws. The legacy of those laws, widely replicated in other states, were expanding prison populations for possessing or selling even small amounts of narcotics.
Thankfully, Governor Spitzer appears determined to aggressively reform New York’s correction system. However, many communities have an economic interest in preserving the status quo. As State Sen. Elizabeth Little, whose Adirondacks district includes 12 prisons told the New York Times,
"There are over 5,000 corrections officers living in my district. In most of these communities, the prisons are the biggest employer.''Left unsaid by too many legislators such as State Senator Little and other politicians, is that white constituents are benefiting from union jobs while minorities are incarcerated with punishments not appropriate to the crimes or offenses committed. This is not justice and reflects badly on our national character. One governor, even in a state as large as New York isn't enough. This issue merits activism among civil libertarians across the political spectrum. Does anybody care?
hi everyone, we are the editors of the blog skippy the bush kangaroo, and are pleased as a platypus to be a part of the independent bloggers' alliance.
Posted by skippy at 5:01 PM
Sunday, March 4, 2007
This is related to my post about A Black Theology of Liberation from yesterday. In addition to the overview link I posted, I had also looked at a PDF that went into detail about what is meant by a Black Value System. This part stood out to me, and I think I heard it echoed when listening to Barack Obama speaking at an event in Selma commemorating the voting rights march that took place there 42 years ago.
Disavowal of the Pursuit of "Middleclassness"
Anyway, I thought that excerpt was worthy of some reflection. In yesterday's post, I linked to the lively exchange between Sean Hannity and Barack Obama's pastor, the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright, about whether Trinity United Church of Christ espoused a "radical separatist" agenda. What I failed to mention at the time is that I do "get" why many White people are uncomfortable with the wording Hannity referred to from the church's web site--commitment to the Black family, the Black community, etc. Hannity asked, wouldn't it sound racist if you substituted the word White--if there was a church that openly stated it was all about supporting and strengthening the White community.
And I can't judge him for asking that. I've wondered the same thing in the past. Wright responded that churches have been that way for ages--White by default. White is "generic" to many of us, so we don't even use the word as a descriptor when we are describing a new person we met, for example. But that's not an easy concept to "get". It's going to take some serious thoughtful discussion among people of good will. Which means, and this is just a guess, it will likely be taking place somewhere other than Sean Hannity's television program.
Posted by Renee in Ohio at 2:40 PM