layla: (FEMA)
Palin stepping down as governor, effective July 26.

WHUT.

The only problem is that now we're stuck with Parnell, who I used to think would be worse, but I'm starting to think that ANYTHING is a step up from what we have now. Y'know, I defended this idiot when she was first tapped for McCain's running mate. All she's done ever since is prove that she's even more of a complete chowderhead than the liberal blogosphere originally thought she was, and make Alaskan politics into a national laughingstock instead of just the statewide laughingstock that it used to be.

So long, Sarah. Don't let the door hit you on the way out.
layla: (Frank - make my day)
In an interesting little bit of local drama, leftward-leaning Alaska blogger "akmuckraker", whose blog Mudflats came to national attention last fall when Palin was tapped for VP, had her identity outed by Rep. Mike Doogan after publishing a blog post criticizing him. He apparently went to some trouble to find out, too, looking at this exchange of emails reproduced on Progressive Alaska, in which he tries to badger another member of Alaska's small and somewhat close-knit progressive blogosphere into revealing the identity of the blogger in question.

This is doubly interesting to me right now, because I've been following the "pro writers behaving badly" saga known as "Racefail" since January (there are several timelines around; here's one of the best), and one of the big issues that came up in that one was the value of anonymity (or, rather, pseudonymity -- not quite the same thing) when, about a month ago, a political blogger who'd gotten on the bad side of some of the famous names involved in the mess (basically for calling them out on their stupid crap) was "outed" by the people she'd blogged about -- see "Derail the Fourth" in the timeline linked above. I ran across a number of good links talking about anonymity/pseudonymity and free speech in the course of linksurfing the debate -- here's one good link that discusses the value (and history) of anonymous political commentary and some of the rationalizations that the "outers" used ... which sound awfully familiar to the Doogan situation.

Possibly one of the biggest bits of WTF? in the whole Doogan mess is semi-anonymous gossip columnist Alaska Ear siding with Doogan (more or less). Alaska Ear has been running in the Anchorage Daily News for at least 20 years (I definitely remember it from when I was a teenager) and for a lot of that time, the identity of the person behind it (Sheila Toomey) was a well-kept secret. She came out publicly awhile back, but Progressive Alaska points out (scroll down, it's buried in the article) that Doogan worked with Toomey and helped protect her secret for years. Now, suddenly, Doogan is all about accountability and public disclosure and how you can't trust what anybody says if it's not under their real name.

Hmm.

Anyway, here's a list of a bajillion links on the Doogan thing. Racefail is documented extensively at [livejournal.com profile] rydra_wong and in timeline/compilation posts like the one linked above. (Here's another useful roundup of Racefail posts at the blog Biology in Science Fiction.)

Racefail is about much more than one blogger being outed, of course. But focusing just on that specific instance and comparing it to the situation with Doogan and akmuckraker, I think in both cases, it has nothing to do with accountability and everything to do with "punishing" someone who said something you don't like by taking away something valuable to them (the separation between their online and RL names). In the first case, Shetterly et al knew the identity of blogger coffeeandink already; they made it public to punish her for talking about them, and then rationalized it with a bunch of blather about "owning your words under your real name" and such. In the second case, Doogan went to a great deal of trouble to find out akmuckraker's real name and then to publicize it -- in a state as politically conservative and small-townish as our own, you don't have to be a rocket scientist to put two and two together and see that as a rather transparent attempt to silence her. If either Shetterly & co or Doogan actually believed their lip service about anonymous words being less meaningful and valid than words written under one's real name, then they would have been more than happy to make sure that both bloggers stayed anonymous, rather than giving them "validity" by making their identities public. No. It's a punishment, and an attempt to silence speech that they don't like, and that's completely disgusting.

Tired

Oct. 19th, 2008 08:01 pm
layla: (FEMA)
California's odious Proposition 8 (amending the state's constitution to ban same-sex marriage, striking down California's current status as one of the only states in the nation where same-sex couples can legally marry) is ahead in the polls. This is due in part to the Mormon church pouring millions into pro-amendment advertising; the amendment was (narrowly) losing in the polls prior to the Mormons getting involved. This can still be won.

Guys, I've donated more to this than I've ever donated to a political cause in my life. Because it's wrong. No one is being harmed in any way by what their neighbors across the street are doing with their personal lives. This is about bigotry, plain and simple. It's about one group of people with money and power trying to impose their own morality on other people's personal lives. Alaska has one of these amendments (it passed in '99) and I'm still heartsick that I didn't do more at the time to try to stop it.

The Netherlands, Canada, Belgium, Norway, Spain, and South Africa allow gay marriage; Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Luxembourg, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and the U.K. grant civil unions. As with slavery and female suffrage, it looks like the U.S.A. is slipping behind the civil rights curve yet again, letting the rest of the world lead the way while we pay lip service to freedom while utterly failing to live up to the ideals that this country is supposedly founded on.

And I'm angry and disgusted that so many people are spending so much money to disenfranchise their neighbors and co-workers, their sons and daughters, their doctors and lawyers and salesclerks and dogcatchers. None of the people who were married this summer (some of whom I know; people I like and respect) deserve to have that taken away from them. And those who aren't sure yet, and those who have yet to meet and fall in love, deserve to have the same choice that my husband and I did: to wed, or not. How can any thinking, feeling human being look into the eyes of a man or woman in love and say, "No, you can't marry your sweetheart, like I married mine; you shouldn't have that right"? I cannot wrap my mind around that. It simply doesn't make any sense to me.

If you want to toss a few bucks into the fight, the donation page is here. You can also volunteer to staff phones.

Other states contemplating similar measures this election:

Florida - Prop. 2 would amend the state constitution to ban not only same-sex marriage but civil unions and other "substantial equivalent" arrangements - contribute here to "No on 2"
Arizona - Prop. 102 would amend the constitution to limit marriage to opposite-sex couples - despite a state law already on the books that prohibits the state from allowing same-sex marriage or recognizing marriages performed elsewhere.
layla: (FEMA)
Uh-oh ... the world has discovered Joe Vogler. Alaska will never be taken seriously again! Not that it was anyway.

(They neglected to mention his hatred of aspens for some reason.)
layla: grass at sunset (Default)
This guy makes some damn good points about white privilege. Regardless of how I feel about the McCain-Palin and Obama-Biden tickets, and how the media's been treating Sarah Palin (and about Tim Wise as well *cough*) ... if you flip it around and postulate a black candidate with Palin's particular set of qualifications and disadvantages (unwed teenage daughter, shaky collegiate history, gun-toting future son-in-law, strongly religious and belongs to a politically-charged church), and consider how such a candidate would be viewed by the American mainstream -- makes kind of a contrast, doesn't it?
layla: grass at sunset (headdesk)
Political stuff that drives me crazy: When the people on "my" side lie. I'm not even sure whether to link to this -- it's a widely linked blog post on the "Palin doesn't speak for us" rally in Anchorage (which is totally awesome, by the way, and I wish I could have gone) that contains a piece of ridiculous, brain-breaking hyperbole that's just ... not just factually inaccurate, but a total lie. (It claims that the anti-Palin rally was the biggest rally ever in the history of the state. Uh, even using their own numbers -- 1500 people -- as cited in the same post, it's not even the biggest rally in the last WEEK -- the pro-Palin rally on the same day drew 1500 people, and the numbers I've seen bandied around for the Fairbanks one on Wednesday is 2-3000. It was a fantastically big rally for being grassroots-organized on short notice, but the only thing that's accomplished by exaggerating about it is to give ammo to the "liberals are lying liars that lie!" crowd.)
layla: grass at sunset (headdesk)
John Scalzi wins!

And Fox News fails. At everything. As usual. Even Wikipedia knows that "baby mama" is slang for an unmarried mother, a.k.a. some woman you knocked up. And I'll believe there's no racial bias here when, and only when, Faux News calls Cindy McCain "McCain's piece of tail" or something equally crass.

Edit: BWAHAHAHAHA. Google wins too! Guess what you get when you type "faux news" into their search box? That's right, second hit down.
layla: (FEMA)
Notice that I'm working hard here ... Meg Cabot style.

Is more consumer choice really better for the consumer? A series of studies finds that the opposite appears to be true -- whether you're talking jam, jobs or health insurance, the more choices people have, the less content they are:

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?sec=health&res=9803E7D61339F931A15752C0A9629C8B63


A roundup of links on weight loss from Reason.com points out the fallacy that dieting to lose a few pounds is healthy in any way; it's more likely to be harmful. Also, black women can carry more weight without adverse health effects than white women, which means that the "one size fits all" approach of the Body Mass Index makes even less sense.

http://www.reason.com/blog/show/119596.html


Orion found me this, by way of Daily Kos: an absolutely awesome update of the GOP logo for 2008:

http://crookedtimber.org/2007/04/07/goodling-friday/
layla: (FEMA)
Okay, Alaska people reading this ... today is the advisory vote on yet another pointless and discriminatory constitutional amendment, so PLEASE get out there, vote NO and let the legislature know that we don't appreciate seeing time and taxpayer money wasted on witch hunts and frivolous messing with the state constitution. Besides, the advisory vote isn't binding anyway; it's basically a $1.2 million opinion poll. And please note the language that the bill's supporters use on their official "Statement in Support" from the Division of Elections website:

A YES on the Advisory Vote does not change state law – it simply asks the Legislature to let the people decide, rather than un-elected judges. In contrast, a NO vote means that five unelected lawyers on the Alaska Supreme Court will decide this issue for the rest of us.

In other words, they're trying to tell us that if we vote yes, we're exercising our right to choose our own destiny and yatta yatta; if we vote no, then we're letting the court decide for us -- which is a load of COMPLETE CONDESCENDING GARBAGE. It's my vote and my decision either way: if I vote no, I'm making my own goddamn decision, and I don't appreciate a bunch of smug bastards in Juneau telling me that my "no" vote doesn't count.

The "people" didn't decide to have this advisory vote; it was pushed through by a bunch of arrogant legislators who disagreed with a state supreme court decision and decided to play the old "let's see how the voters feel about this" card. Fine, let's show them how we feel about this and send them a resounding "no" vote to leave the goddamn constitution alone.

Yes, I feel rather strongly about this issue; why do you ask...?
layla: (FEMA)
Some political/topical links (most of which come, directly or indirectly, from Reason.com, a libertarian blog site).

There is only one atheist in Congress, which ties into the polls showing that Americans will vote for nearly anyone as long as it's not an atheist. (Like all polls, to be taken with a grain of salt ... and not that ANY of these should matter -- black, female, gay, etc -- still, it's kind of interesting that when it comes to public office, it seems that being gay is "better" than being an atheist.)

Interesting article about a successful slave revolt in Florida ... although it's kind of an over-simplification to call it that, if you read the article, but still cool. My great-grandfather's middle name was Osceola. There's no blood relationship to the historical Osceola that I'm aware of, but considering the racial climate of the times, it's interesting to think of the factors that went into naming your (mixed-race) kid after a known Indian rebel in the early 1900s. (Actually come to think of it, that particular ancestor of mine *might* have been full-blooded Choctaw, but I'm not sure.)

Anyway, the whole Florida thing, a tale of cooperation between escaped slaves and Native tribes, provides an interesting counterpoint to the recent kerfluffle about the Cherokees kicking out descendants of black slaves -- which points out a) why legislating civil rights at the ballot box is STUPID (*looks pointedly at the states, including my own, which are currently and STUPIDLY doing the same thing for gay rights*) and b) that when giving a nation sovereign rights within one's own nation, sometimes they will make decisions that go against the morality of the larger nation. Will the U.S. have the balls to hold to their promise of Cherokee sovereignty and grant the Cherokees the right to discriminate if they so desire?

Very depressing article about the Border Patrol ... "It's Our Job to Stop That Dream. While Bush backpedals merrily to mend fences with Central American countries, our national policies are focused on getting rid of their people as quickly as possible. Why not open up more immigration slots? Why not offer work-visas or amnesty to workers? Why indeed?

And finally, I'm including this one only because a very intelligent person I know, repeated the Barack Obama is a Muslim myth to me just the other day. This is a myth. It's been thoroughly debunked by CNN and AP. Whatever associations one happens to have with Muslim and Christian and whatever else, Barack Obama is a Christian and there's really no disputing it. If one is inclined to vote against him because he is a Muslim, then one is being very silly, because he is not.
layla: (FEMA)
I've decided to start writing in my journal more, and also using tags. Taggity tag tag tag ... the only problem is trying to figure out what criteria I (or others) might conceivably want to search for.

Interesting article linked from Reason.com countering the gloom and doom point of view on the effects of imported American pop culture on other nations, particularly third-world nations.

http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/02/22/business/export.php?page=1

It seems that American imported culture (music, movies, etc.) don't seem to stomp roughshod over local art forms; the only place where American pop culture seems most competitive is, of course, Europe, which is culturally similar to the U.S. and therefore receptive to what Americans find appealing. The more different the local culture is, the less easily American pop culture can take a foothold. It's certainly *there*, just as American teenagers embrace British rock music or Japanese anime ... but I don't think anyone seriously thinks anime is causing the Death of Hollywood As We Know It. It's certainly influential on American comics and animation, though. And that's the story of creativity throughout history -- people see something they like, and it inspires them to create their own stories or music in that vein, while putting their own unique twist on the experience.

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