melanoman: (Default)
Some sage advice from 1947 from people who had lived the consequences of the alternative.



"Here in America it is not a question of whether we tolerate minorities. America IS minorities."

Remember.
melanoman: (Default)
In case you haven't heard, the Iroquois National Lacrosse team is being denied travel rights to England by the UK ministries. The team is ranked 4th in the world, and is a huge source of pride from the nation where the game was invented. The coverage I'm hearing on NPR keeps referring to the "special passports" the team members hold. I can't stand that term. When they say "special" they don't mean that the thing is made of some special material. The "special" part is that a tribal government is issuing them.

The travel problems started in La Guardia (a New York, USA airport) where the officials there had trouble validating the passports. The consultations went all the to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who NPR reported gave "special" permission for the Iroquois to use their passports. The UK ministries did not allow the passports in Heathrow, so the team was turned back and missed their first match. The host team England won that match by denying its rival admission to the match.

The Haudenosaunee Nation (which includes the Iroquois, Mohawk, and other tribes) has been issuing these passports since the 1970s and continues to upgrade to the evolving anti-fraud standards. Other hosts have honored the passports, which is how the team managed it's 4th-place world ranking. In practice, the big difference between the Iroquois passports and those of the US and Canada is inclusion in an anti-fraud database controlled by the United Nations. The Nation has expended over US$1.5 million to upgrade to the latest anti-fraud technologies, so at this point the difference is in international recognition, not the physical documents. England was party to a treaty with the Nation in the 18th century that allowed them travel rights, but isn't living up to that agreement now, even though Canadian transport on many Haudenosaunee roads is still permitted because of that treaty.

I'd like to see the governing body for lacrosse refuse to recognize the UK as a potential host until the UK recognizes the travel rights of the league's most senior member.
melanoman: (Default)
The key phrase is around 0:27-0:29. Mr. Steel (The Republican National Committee Chair) calls Afghanistan a "War of Obama's choosing ... not something the U.S. ... wanted to engage in."

melanoman: (Default)
Consider Alvin Green, an unfunded candidate who looked like a deer in traffic in a recent interview. To be fair, I suspect the problem with that interview was akin to the Bush debate where he wore a transmitter to let someone feed him the answers. Apparently playing Cyrano de Bergerac doesn't work in Live Television.

That said, his victory in the SC primary does not appear to be luck, but neither does it appear to be the result of Democratic support. Rather it seems he was the beneficiary of a whole lot of Republican votes in the open primary. With their own nomination secured, the GOP seemed to focus their efforts to push a non-viable candidate to center stage.

Watch carefully California. You'll see more of the same once our own open primary takes effect. Let's expand on the example of the last post, where the Purple party shuts the Black party out of the election use the open choose-2 format we just adopted. In this variant, the Black Party has candidate Black-B step down to create a safe primary. Having investigated Purple A, B, and C thoroughly, they find some devastating scandal information on Purple-C, perhaps that he took a Black Party bribe.

Black keeps this information secret and using a secret email campaign, gets a sizable chunk of its voters to open-primary their vote to Purple-C. Now the primary vote looks like the added column to the table from my last post:

Black-A25%35%
Black-B20%0%
Purple-A17%17%
Purple-B15%15%
Purple-C10%20%
Purple-D7%7%
Minor4%4%
Purple-E2%2%


Viola, the Purple Party favorite Purple-A has been replaced with Purple-C, who can be soundly defeated on election day. The core problem with an open primary is that members of one party get to tell members of another party who they should support by casting their primary vote for someone they have no intention of voting for in the general election. That's corrupt.
melanoman: (Default)
The new primary system California just adopted is stupid. The way it works is that the candidates from all parties are put into one big lump, and only the top two appear on the formal ballot. This is a great way to shut out the minor parties and squelch debate within the major parties. Let's take an example to see how.

Let's imagine that the vote is primarily held by two major parties. To make the math easy, I'm going to split the whole vote 51%/45% between them, with 4% in the minor party.

Let's say that one major party (Purple) has a vigorous debate with 10 candidates. The other is a tightly controlled party (Black) with exactly two candidates. Votes shake out something like this:

Black-A25%
Black-B20%
Purple-A17%
Purple-B15%
Purple-C10%
Purple-D7%
Minor4%
Purple-E2%

So the Purple Party has the majority of the vote, but will not appear on the ballot. The party that makes the ballot will be the party that shuts out discussion and selects a champion before the primary even starts.

The purpose of the primary was for the parties to be able to pick their candidates for the main election. This new structure thoroughly undermines that goal, and forces the parties to shut out competition or risk being shut out of the election altogether. This means that the meaningful decisions are made earlier in a campaign.

Money works fast. Grass roots take time. This is a way to shut out the grass roots.
melanoman: (Default)
I've been looking at the Lieberman amendment for the repeal of DADT. It's been widely panned by the right as a terrible advance of the liberal agenda, and by most of the LGBT boards as a sell-out compromise. As usual, a huge chunk of the early comments show signs of not having read the actual legislation, so I provide it here.
Committee Amendment Proposed by Mr. Lieberman

At the appropriate place in title V, insert the following:

SEC. [ARM10802]. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE POLICY CONCERNING HOMOSEXUALITY IN THE ARMED FORCES.

(a) COMPREHENSIVE REVIEW ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF A REPEAL OF 10 U.S.C. § 654.-
(1) IN GENERAL.-On March 2, 2010, the Secretary of Defense issued a memorandum directing the Comprehensive Review on the Implementation of a Repeal of 10 U.S.C. § 654 (section 654 of title 10, United States Code).
(2) OBJECTIVES AND SCOPE OF REVIEW.-The Terms of Reference accompanying the Secretary's memorandum established the following objectives and scope of the ordered review:

(A) Determine any impacts to military readiness, military effectiveness and unit cohesion, recruiting/retention, and family readiness that may result from repeal of the law and recommend any actions that should be taken in light of such impacts.

(B) Determine leadership, guidance, and training on standards of conduct and new policies.

(C) Determine appropriate changes to existing policies and regulations, including but not limited to issues regarding personnel management, leadership and training, facilities, investigations, and benefits.

(D) Recommend appropriate changes (if any) to the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

(E) Monitor and evaluate existing legislative proposals to repeal 10 U.S.C. § 654 and proposals that may be introduced in the Congress during the period of the review.

(F) Assure appropriate ways to monitor the workforce climate and military effectiveness that support successful follow-through on implementation.

(G) Evaluate the issues raised in ongoing litigation involving 10 U.S.C. § 654.

(b) EFFECTIVE DATE.-The amendments made by subsection (f) shall take effect only on the date on which the last of the following occurs:

(1) The Secretary of Defense has received the report required by the memorandum of the Secretary referred to in subsection (a).
(2) The President transmits to the congressional defense committees a written certification, signed by the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stating each of the following:

(A) That the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have considered the recommendations contained in the report and the report's proposed plan of action.
(B) That the Department of Defense has prepared the necessary policies and regulations to exercise the discretion provided by the amendments made by subsection (f).
(C) That the implementation of necessary policies and regulations pursuant to the discretion provided by the amendments made by subsection (f) is consistent with the standards of military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion, and recruiting and retention of the Armed Forces.

(c) NO IMMEDIATE EFFECT ON CURRENT POLICY.-

Section 654 of title 10, United States Code, shall remain in effect until such time that all of the requirements and certifications required by subsection (b) are met. If these requirements and certifications are not met, section 654 of title 10, United States Code, shall remain in effect.

(d) BENEFITS.-Nothing in this section, or the amendments made by this section, shall be construed to require the furnishing of benefits in violation of section 7 of title 1, United States Code (relating to the definitions
of ''marriage'' and ''spouse'' and referred to as the ''Defense of Marriage Act'').

(e) NO PRIVATE CAUSE OF ACTION.-Nothing in this section, or the amendments made by this section, shall be construed to create a private cause of action.

(f) TREATMENT OF 1993 POLICY.-
(1) TITLE 10.-Upon the effective date established by subsection (b), chapter 37 of title 10, United States Code, is amended-
(A) by striking section 654; and
(B) in the table of sections at the beginning of such chapter, by striking the item relating to section 654.
(2) CONFORMING AMENDMENT.-Upon the effective date established by subsection (b), section 5571 of the National Defense Authorization Act for
Fiscal Year 1994 (10 U.S.C. 654 note) is amended by striking subsections (b), (c), and (d).


The way I read this legislation, Congress is transferring the power to repeal DADT from its own hands to the executive branch. A determined executive could use this either to defer the repeal indefinitely or to ram it through this year. The SecDef position (currently held by Gates, a republican appointed by Bush) is specifically named as one of the signoffs.

I need to get to work. I'll try to do some serious analysis tonight.

[---------- Time passes --------------]

Things I've heard that I want to respond to.

1. This legislation does nothing. It's just a study.

No. This creates a trigger if passed. When the listed events all occur, DADT will be repealed without needing another act of congress. For example, if the Republicans take back the house in November, then the study completes in December, and the events specified above all occur), then no fillibuster or other stalling tactic in congress would matter.

2. The trigger might never occur.

Absolutely true. If SecDef Gates refuses to sign the stipulation, DADT remains in effect until the SecDef can be replaced by someone who will.

3. This is unconstitutional because only Congress has the power to repeal DADT.

No. This is a rather ordinary proxy of the sort the makes the IRS(e.g.) able to write regulations. Even though the President and others must conduct the actions that satisfy the conditions, they are not repealing DADT, just activating the trigger that congress authorized.

4. A future president could retroactively bring DADT back into effect.

Not without a new act of congress to sign. The trigger defined above takes place when the last of the defined events occurs. Because they are defined as events rather than conditions, they cannot be rescinded. For example, If SecDef Robert Gates were to sign a letter asserting the stipulated items, and later he or a future Sec Def were to state that the stipulated items were no longer true, the signing of the letter would have already happened, so the condition that "the last of the events has occurred" would still be satisfied.

A new act of congress could reinstate DADT or just change the UCMJ to make service by homosexuals illegal again. Short of a finding by the SCOTUS under equal protection, there is no way around this part.

5. Even with DADT repealed, there are still laws in the UCMJ that would make open service illegal.

Mostly true. The sodomy laws in the UCMJ prohibit both oral and anal sex (yes, even consensually; yes, regardless of gender). Unless those laws and laws like them were additionally repealed, the removal of DADT would still leave homosexuals exposed to legal actions and a DD. There is a specific clause in the study authorization asking the Pentagon for a list of UCMJ codes like the Sodomy laws which would need to additionally repealed to make the legislation meaningful, but unlike DADT itself, these would not be automatically repealed. A second act of congress would be required to get rid of these other parts of the code.
melanoman: (Default)
The fundies were praying for rain,
to come down on Obama's campaign,
but the message seems clear,
if they only would hear,
as Herr Gustav runs over McCain
melanoman: (Default)
{cross posted from my OKC Journal}

No, the comma is not a typo. Read on.

There are a lot of people who like to use the word "values" when putting on an air of moral superiority. I've noticed that these values seem to be purely abstract, and am starting to suspect that the values crowd couldn't name those values if they tried.

Or perhaps they are to scared to name the values because they would find that the bigoted, hateful messages they try to justify with the word "values" don't line up with any values at all.

Maybe they don't list the values because bigotry and hatred was what they valued in the first place. Maybe they are just trying to dress that bigotry up as something wholesome. I don't approve of that sort of cross-dressing.

They also like to talk about what is traditional. Take the words "under God" in the Pledge or the words "in God we trust" on the currency. These words all got added in the last 50 years. The long and proud tradition of this country was based on the separation of Church and state. In fact, the separation clause is the very first right in the bill of rights.

An angry mob in fear of the Communist Menace littered those words all over. They obscured the beautiful words "E pluribus unum" to replace them with religious dogma out of fear and other base motivations. "One from many" is the tradition. The other is a Johny-come-lately interloper.

I assert that the activist right has abandoned tradition and values alike.

My challenge to the right is simple. List your values specifically for all to see. You may not make reference to tradition unless you go all the way to the source of the tradition.

My challenge to the left and elsewhere is the same. Shout your values out and be specific. Name the traditions that are important to you.

A lot of this post is written from a US-centric perspective, but I welcome the global audience as well.

Once you have made your lists, ask yourself if the values you listed actually support the arguments you attach to the word "values." If not, you have been using the abstraction to lie to yourself and/or others.

Gay Rights

Jun. 5th, 2006 12:24 pm
melanoman: (Default)
With [personal profile] stoneself on the AIDS ride eating deep fried artichokes, I got to thinking about the inevitable gay bashing that would come with the upcoming election, and what the next victory would look like on that front of the civil rights war.

Oddly enough, I think the next win looks like boredom. Predictably, the Republicans are going to bring up the FMA and gay marriage and abortion in the coming election. The question remains whether than can actually energize their base with that message. My hope is that as the right starts pandering again this year, the majority will see it for what it is...pandering.

There are a few anti-gay message coming out now from the usual suspects like Dobson, but the message seems impotent. He warns that if the Republicans "forget [to bash gays], then [the bigots] will forget [to vote Republican]" The timing couldn't be worse for his side. In the middle of the AIDS ride, most gay-related stories are on the most positive footing the media ever lets them gets. A generic anti-gay message in this climate has a real potential to fall flat and boring. Ignore Mr. Hater for a minute and listen to the debate from Ms. On The Fence's point of view watch the News. They contrast the AIDs ride with the unspoken well-known association to gays where everyone is talking about cures and life with Dobson calling out for symbolic persecution that doesn't even change the status quo. In the absence of the level of interest to form a fake debate with someone to play the role of the scary gay guy, the impression about Dobson and his crew is "What a waste...how pointless."

The clearest sign that the next victory has started to happen will be when politicians on the right start to leak stories about themselves not caring about the hot button issue, or only taking the stance for political reasons. There public stances on the issue won't change at first, but the more the polls tell them not to take the hard line, the less likely hard legislation should become (ignoring odd backlash situations).

A really encouraging sign is coming from a popular figure in the South (yes, you heard me right). Take Ron White; he's one of the top four comedians from the South, and his comedy comes down harshly on homophobes without ever calling his own sexuality into question. "Homophobia. What a wasted emotion. Didn't you think they were all dead?" He also endorses something like the Kinsey scale "Everyone is gay; it's just a question of to what extent"

Slightly off topic, Dixie Chick bashing has gone so far out of vogue that I've actually heard someone publicly brag that they liked the group even when everyone was down on them in the same kind of tones that a teenager says "I liked Pirates before they were cool"

Go life cyclers!
melanoman: (Default)
"President Bush's immigration initiative has angered conservative Republicans so much that some are refusing to donate to his re-election campaign, according to a Bush fund-raiser in Georgia." -- Washington Times
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You are a

Social Liberal
(66% permissive)

and an...

Economic Moderate
(43% permissive)

You are best described as a:

Centrist




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Also: The OkCupid Dating Persona Test

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