politics

gays for gun rights

From the "things I didn't know existed" file: Pink Pistols, whose motto is, "Armed Gays Don't Get Bashed". Outstanding.

They've submitted a brief in the Surpreme Court case of the D.C. gun ban, which states in part:

Laws that prevent the use of firearms for self-defense in one's own home disproportionately impact those individuals who are targets of hate violence due to their minority status, whether defined by race, religion, sexual orientation, or other characteristic. Even in their homes, LGBT individuals are at risk of murder, aggravated assault and other forms of hate violence because of their sexual orientation. In fact, the home is the most common site of anti-gay violence. Thus, for certain [lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered] individuals, the possession of firearms in the home is essential for a sense of personal security -- a fact generally lost in the majoritarian debate about restricting individual's access to, and use of, firearms. . . . [N]ot only do members of the LGBT community have a heightened need to possess firearms for self-protection in their homes, the Second Amendment clearly guarantees this most basic right. . . .

girl in Clinton "3 a.m. phone call" ad grew up to support Obama

Ah, beautiful beautiful irony!

Casey Knowles is a high school senior in Washington state. Like a lot of people her age, she's a big Obama fan. She's even gotten involved as a precinct captain for the Democratic caucuses, and could be a convention delegate.

Unlike a lot of people her age, about a decade ago she did some film work, and appeared as a sleeping kid in some footage shot for a railroad company ad. Getty Images got the rights to that stock footage. The Hillary Clinton campaign bought it from Getty Images, and used it in the now famous "3 a.m. phone call" ad.

Yes, the girl in the Clinton ad supports Obama.

"robo-cop" controls crime and/or harasses the homeless

From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, this story of a remote-controlled robot armed with a water cannon that its creator, Rufus Terrill, claims has helped prevent break-ins and drug deals on his block and stopped vandals from trashing a local day care center. Others suggest he's a vigilante who's harassing the homeless.

More on Obama, Japan

A while back, I mentioned the town of Obama in Japan. The Ethiopian Review has a story on how "this ancient fishing town of 32,000 people" is rooting for the candidate with the same name to win, hoping he'll put them on the tourist map.

Supporters in Obama — which means "small shore" in Japanese — have held parties to watch election results, put up posters wishing the senator luck and plan a special batch of the town's "manju" sweets bearing his likeness.

...

Lest cynics find the city's efforts naive, it was Obama himself who first drew attention to the connection.

Obama, speaking to Japan's TBS network in December 2006, said that when he flew once to Tokyo, an officer stamping his passport told him of the town.

"He looked up and said, 'I'm from Obama,'" the senator said.

better than free?

Over at Edge, Kevin Kelly confronts the economics of the digital age:

When copies are super abundant, they become worthless. When copies are super abundant, stuff which can't be copied becomes scarce and valuable.

When copies are free, you need to sell things which can not be copied.

Well, what can't be copied?

...

From my study of the network economy I see roughly eight categories of intangible value that we buy when we pay for something that could be free.

Going ape...

A recent Slashdot discussion brought up the the way that Soledad O'Brien asked John Edwards about evolution, specifically the phrase "man came, evolution-wise, from apes.", and whether that was an attempt to whip up the ""I didn't come from no monkey!" camp.

It got me imagining my ideal candidate giving a reply. Wouldn't you love to hear something like this:

"Why, yes, Ms. O'Brien, according to our best evidence we did descend from apes - more precisely, we and modern apes descended from a common, ape-like ancestor. And I'm proud of how far our species has developed, how far up from the muck we've come, how far towards grace we've climbed; and I hope that our umptity-great grandchildren will be as far above us as we are above the Australopithecines. My opponent the Biblical literalist, on the other hand, seems to hold that we're all the fallen result of incestuous inbreeding from a single original pair of idiots dumb enough to be fooled by a talking snake. I've got to say I find the scientific account not only more rational, but orders of magnitude more inspiring."

letter to the editor, Baltimore Sun: Giving the state its micrograms of flesh

Letter to the Editor, Baltimore Sun:

What strange world does Governor O'Malley inhabit, where the state taking flesh from citizens is "noninvasive" ("O'Malley urges DNA collection", February 14, 2008)? Ignoring for the moment the massive privacy concerns that DNA collection raises, there is a much more fundamental issue here: the sovereignty of the state ends at my skin. The government has no legitimate authority to compel citizens who have not been convicted of a crime to undergo any medical procedure, however minor.

Jesus of Nazareth had a pretty good take on the question of how far the legitimate authority of government goes: "Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's; and unto God what is God's." Our bodies may or may not be "temples" of some deity, but they certainly are not Caesar's, for him to demand any amount of flesh from us, for any purpose.

Tim Kreider on Obama, Hillary, and America

Put down whatever you're doing and go read Tim Kreider's artist's statement for this week's The Pain -- When Will It End?.

Highlights:

But there’s a half-millennium of institutional racism on this continent, and social progress happens slowly and unevenly, person by person. There are still vast, savage swaths of unapologetic bigotry in this country. I spent fifteen years living in a county where there's still an active Klan chapter, where guys in diners or bars will casually drop the old N-bomb early on in a conversation just to test you out, to see if you’re one of them or some “edjumacated idjot.” This wasn’t in darkest Alabama or anything—it was technically within the East Coast megalopolis, between Baltimore and Philadelphia, just off I-95. There are millions of people out there who chuckle over the wit of the nickname “Obama-Osama.” And thanks to the second amendment, they can all have top-of-the-line, high-powered rifles with excellent telescopic sights.

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