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Saturday, July 30, 2011

I MOVED!

All the loyal readers of this blog have probably realized that I haven't posted in quite a while. That's because, as the title says, I MOVED! Neil and I have left Boston (so sad) are now in South Florida and are settled enough for me to start classes at Nova Southeastern this Monday, August 1st. Much has happened since I've written, and hopefully I will be able to write about some of it. I have NO idea how much time I will have to blog once classes begin and most of my time will be spent studying, and the majority of the rest will be with Neil. I'm sure I will be able to share a tidbit or two. In the meantime, don't forget to wear sunscreen.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

If you don't know Maggie Gallagher...

We all need to appreciate the logic, reasoning and most of all, communication skills of Rob Tisinai (I practically quoted his entire blog post in my piece about religious liberty here). He's able to pick through the mumbo jumbo of Right Wing logic and present it in a way that explains how and why it is said in such a manner. His brilliance can be seen here, where he dissects point by point, an apologetics piece by NOM co-founder and conservative Catholic Robert George (a lawyer, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University and Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institute at Stanford University). I say this about Rob, because we wouldn't really know Maggie as well without him.

Gallagher and George work tirelessly (on behalf of the Catholic hierarchy and other wealthy, conservative Catholics like themselves) at the state and federal level to stop the inevitable reality that is marriage equality in the United States. They do this by whatever means necessary:  direct ballot like Prop8 in California or Question 1 in Maine; threatening the legislatures like Rhode Island, Maryland and New York; or constitutional amendments at the state level in Minnesota, and at the national level with the Federal Marriage Amendment. (Jeremy Hooper, at goodasyou.org, does a wonderful job of cataloging all that they do. You can find more information here).

Though Gallagher is an ivy-leaguer like George, calling Yale her alma mater, she is less subtle with her inconsistencies.

One thing I have noticed, especially about politicians and especially right-wingers, is they try and stay general and vague about complicated issues. Soundbites and stupid are king. It makes it much easier to sway opinions when the people you are talking to don't really understand what you are saying, but think they agree with you regardless.

NOM-ers tend to use a lot of patriotic, (small d) democratic imagery when massing their hordes. They want to 'Let the People Decide,' (direct democracy) on this civil rights issue, as long as they know the majority of people who can vote, will vote with them. When the state involved does not have a referendum process (purely republican), like New York, they encourage constituents to call their representatives, and call for a referendum anyway. They believe in religious freedom (to discriminate in the public sphere), and liberty (to do as they please without following the law). When fleshed out, this argument works against them. The latest battle ground, New York state, finally gained marriage equality through the legislature, after religious protections (that were already in place) were explicitely stated in the legislation.

In retaliation, our Maggie decided to looked to a revised history of the ancient Roman republic to write an op-ed, stating that because marriage equality passed, our republic is on the decline. Tisinai calls it, "a puff piece, an attempt at high-falutin’ rhetoric with as much substance as cotton candy — no, even less, not cotton candy but flavored air." She starts like this:
“What form of government have you given us?” a lady is said to have asked Benjamin Franklin as he left Independence Hall on Sept. 17, 1787 — that other great day in American history, when the Constitution was promulgated if not yet ratified.
“A republic, madam, if you can keep it,” Franklin is said to have replied.
A republic: What is that? And how do we keep it?
Tisinai then goes on to share her answers and is baffled at how outright contradictary her statements are to her 'beliefs'. Note: I always feel guilty, lifting large parts of pieces I didn't write, so please go to his blog and read it. Needless to say, she goes on about 'saving the republic,' while she herself has played a strong role in undercutting it, when it comes to campaign finance laws, lobbying, and civil rights. Tisinai concludes his post like this:

Who’s worried about the rebellion against restrictive marriage laws?
Maggie Gallagher.
Who opposes dealing with that rebellion by opening marriage to more couples, giving more people its rights and protection?
Maggie Gallagher.
Who wants to deal with the issue instead by amending the Constitution to ban same-sex marriage?
Maggie Gallagher.
Let’s see if I put this into a single sentence:  Maggie Gallagher earns a great living by denouncing republic-style government, stripping people of their rights, and pushing for a Federal Marriage Amendment, but paused just long enough to write about saving the republic by expanding the rights of the citizenry instead of resorting to Constitutional amendments.
We all our blind spots when it comes to self-awareness. Lord knows I do. But after reading this piece I’ve concluded there’s ordinary blindness, and there’s what we ought to call Maggie-blindness. It’s in a whole different league.
This is Maggie Gallagher. A person trying to prevent civil rights legislation because of religion-based objections by any means necessarily. She and her organization, NOM, are more than willing to break the law, then not comply when they lose in court. She doesn't want to defend the republic. She wants to bring it down. I am thinking that if she really wants to live in a theocracy, she should go ahead an move to Vatican City, or perhaps Iran.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

bear hug, no? lion hug, YES!

I want to do this! I've loved cats since I was a little kid, and had big cat posters on my walls (until I went to college, ahem...). I wanted to be a vet when I grew up, but that slowly morphed into an interest in human medicine. Needless to say, if they weren't so big and expensive to care for, I'd love a big cat. Here's to living vicariously through this guy.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Floating in the East River (in a good way)

Now this is a cool, green idea I can get behind. Three guys in New York City want to open up a pool in the East River, using filtered river water. This pool would be open to everyone, and would allow all those people of the city to reconnect with the water that surrounds them. (Help make it happen here.)

On hot summer days, when you see a cool body of water, don't you want to just jump right in? Yesterday in Boston was an over 90 degrees scorcher. I was very tempted to jump in the sprinklers that were running outside my building, but decided it was just a little too unprofessional. If they had a pool like this in Boston, I could definitely get behind it.

Watch the pitch video below:
+Pool from GYLo on Vimeo.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Little Too Green?

While taking a break from work, I stumbled upon this video. It is similar to my Dream Apartment, in that it is small, and organized, but I think this one is a little too small for me.
The Cube Project is an initiative of Dr Mike Page at the University of Hertfordshire who set out to build a compact home, no bigger than 3x3x3 metres on the inside, in which one person could live a comfortable, modern existence with a minimum impact on the environment.
A video tour by Dr. Page looks interesting, but the production value is small, as should probably be expected on an experiment like this is to be expected.



The website has pictures that look a little more enticing. Even still, I think I would prefer it as a small retreat behind my house, or as a vacation home, when I'm not planning on being inside much. Still, more power to those who want to live in a building like this. £1000 post-tariff, in the bank!

Embarrassing.

It's funny how this can work in any country. Some idiot says something untrue, vile, hateful, or bigoted, then a journalist, newsperson or blogger quotes them verbatim, with context and an outcry ensues. Then instead of apologizing and/or correcting the mistake, said idiot says "I was misquoted," or "It was taken out of context."

No, you're just an idiot.

The outcry here and here. Defense here.

American repeat offenders here, here, and here (among MANY others).