Shame on the Maryland Court of Appeals

Usually I'm pretty proud to be a Marylander. Not today, though, when our state's highest court hands down a irrational and homophobic ruling, overturing a Baltimore Circuit Court that found that the state's law restricting marriage to heterosexual couples was unconstitutional and discriminatory.

Instead, the Court of Appeals found that claimed that the state has a legitimate interest in maintaining heterosexual marriage because it allows procreation and the traditional family structure. How that squares with allowing elderly or infertile people to marry is beyond me. And the "traditional family structure", as we all know, is where a man buys a woman from her family with a dowry. Is that what Maryland law is supposed to encourage?

Shame on the Maryland Court of Appeals.

"Manly Arts Day" - sorry I missed this!

Shoot, wish I'd know about this in advance. Have to watch for it next year. From the Baltimore Sun:

Yesterday marked the second "Manly Arts Day," said Ranger Victor Markland, an event he launched last year to draw attention to a niche not often explored.

Held on the estate of the wealthy Ridgely family, whose iron was used to make weapons during the American Revolution and whose generations fought in the War of 1812 and the Civil War, the day focused on skills once considered essential to being a man. Along with riding and dancing, the well-rounded, well-bred man knew how to fence, said Rockefeller, a Loyola College history professor.

"It was considered an absolute necessity... to know how to fence, or at least a minimal use of a sword." Markland said. While Rockefeller channeled an 18th-century man with a waistcoat, breeches and stockings, Markland mimicked a Napoleonic War veteran who opened a Baltimore fencing academy in 1814, sporting a black top hat along with his outfit.

Recycling excess copies of The Examiner

Sick and tired of picking up litter dumped on my lawn by The Examiner's carriers, I fired this off. I'm sending hardcopy in the mail tomorrow. Yes, I do intend to follow up and bill them if they keep dumping papers, and if they don't pay, I'll consider turning it over to a collection agency.

Feel free to copy the idea and make similar arrangements with these littering bastards.

Tom Swiss
2119 Arlonne Drive
Baltimore, MD 21228
Fax: 443-927-9320

Michael Barnum, Vice President, Circulation
Baltimore Newspaper Publishing Company, LLC
400 E. Pratt St.
Baltimore, MD 21202

Jun 27, 2007

Dear Mr. Barnum,

Since repeated telephone calls to the circulation office of The Examiner have failed to stop your carriers from littering my lawn and driveway with newspapers, I can only assume that you have great difficulty in disposing of your excess papers.

Rather than pressing criminal charges for littering against your company, I propose a profitable and ecologically helpful solution: I am willing to provide you with a recycling service for excess papers. My rate is $90 per pound of papers, one pound minimum for any day you choose to use my service.

Any copies of The Examiner left at or in front of my house (2119 Arlonne Drive, Catonsville MD, 21228) after July 4, 2007, will be taken as acceptance by Baltimore Newspaper Publishing Company, LLC, of these terms and as a request for the service described above. Bills for the service will be sent to you at this address.

If you choose not to make use of this service, then you merely need to stop littering my lawn and driveway with newspapers.

Very truly yours,

Tom Swiss

Edgar Allan Poe's birthday visitor

There are certainly things about Baltimore that I don't like: murder, heroin addiction, blocks of boarded-up houses. But any city where for 58 years, someone has come the grave of a writer to leave a mysterious tribute, well, can't be all bad.

When it became clear that the Poe Toaster had arrived, and placed a half-empty bottle of cognac and three red roses on Poe's grave, the crowd rushed to one entrance to get a glimpse.

"You did not place your hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible."

A beautiful political moment: March 1st in Annapolis, a hearing on a proposed constitutional ban on equal protection for gay and lesbian couples was taking place. Professor Jamie Raskin, from the law school of American University, testified againt this piece of crap.

Apparenly right-wing dingbat Senator Nancy Jacobs stood up and shouted: "Mr. Raskin, my Bible says marriage is only between a man and a woman. What do you have to say about that?" To which Raskin replied: "Senator, when you took your oath of office, you placed your hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution. You did not place your hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible."

Grand jury decries 'arrests without merit'

The Baltimore Sun reports that a grand jury convened to "address the lack of confidence that exists between many members of the public and law enforcement", has decried a tremendous number of arrests made by city police without merit.

Just within the African-American population, over 21,000 arrests without charges being filed were made between April 2004 and April 2005.

The grand jury also handed down indictments of three cops: one accused of raping a woman brought to the station house in handcuffs, the other two accused of doing nothing to stop it.

Cops gone wild. Welcome to the police state, brought to you by the War on (Some) Drugs.

Chris Chandler at the New Deal Cafe, March 24

I've been a huge fan of the "folken word" of Chris Chandler since I saw him perform at College Park's "Planet X" coffeehouse back in the early 1990s. Chris has traveled the nation and worked with musicans and poets from Allen Ginsberg to Ani DiFranco and Pete Seeger to Mojo Nixon. (For those of you who know the work of Billy Jonas - Chris is credited as co-writer of Billy's wonderful song "God is In")

Chris now lives in Tacoma Park, and I'm happy to have helped introduce him to Greenbelt's fine fine venue, The New Deal Cafe. Chris will be playing there March 24 - you do NOT want to miss this! Spread the word!


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