this n that

State of the Web (Oatmeal)

From JMG: Iowa Rep. Dwayne Alons: Normal People Live Longer Because They’re Not Gay. The supply of stupid, OTOH, is infinite.

What the right won’t admit about Reagan. What I love about this is that despite the list of Reagan’s deeds that is given to Limbaugh, he can’t get past the one where Reagan raised taxes and finally just hangs up on the caller and rants about how intractable liberals are.

Wow, the Maryland opponents to gay marriage might have overdone it just a tad: Brochin reconsidering stand on same-sex marriage

Baltimore County Sen. James Brochin found the testimony Tuesday by opponents of gay marriage “troubling,” and said this morning that he may support the bill. The Baltimore County Democrat had previously said he was against same-sex marriage.

“The demonization of gay families really bothered me,” Brochin said. “Are these families going to continue to be treated by the law as second class citizens?”

Yes, that’s exactly the question!

This is both fascinating and disturbing: We pushed back on the Patriot Act extension in the House… with the help of Tea Party members. Now, they are batshit crazy on too many issues. I wouldn’t trust them further than I could throw them. OTOH, exploiting them to at least push back on civil liberty issues, that both mainstream Democratics and Republicans seem intent on ravaging, is a distinct possibility… Glenn Greenwald goes into more detail at The Tea Party and civil liberties. I wish I had more time to comment on this one but you know how it goes sometimes.

So… y’all may or may not know about the recent crackdown whereby the domain names of ten “linking” websites were seized for providing access to illegal and/or pirated material. (I’m thinking that since the listed pirated material was broadcasts from major sports organizations, there’s more than a little back-scenes prompting going on there — are these guys going to go the way of RIAA?)
On domain seizures over links, DHS faces digital conundrum. The opening sentences summarize the quandary perfectly:

What makes Google searches any different from websites dedicated to searching out and linking to copyrighted content on other servers?

That’s a question Homeland Security Investigation Special Agent James Hayes had a hard time explaining during a recent phone interview with John Moe of American Public Media.

This has so many similarities to the current issue of trying to legally attack Wikileaks without taking out the traditional protections of the press & publishers that it’s ridiculous. One of the reasons that, say, a telephone company isn’t held accountable for linking up two people plotting something illegal over the phone is that the telephone company does no filtering of what’s going through their lines. Similarly, Google does no filtering of what websites are canvassed (they do filter for meaningful results on a search, which is an interestingly different, and might be what “Homeland Security” was thinking of when trying to say why Google wouldn’t be targeted for such a crackdown. (Can we plz has tech ability among these ppl for a change RSN??) This example really emphasizes why we need a Net Neutrality law with teeth.

Things to think about with latest technological advances and accessibility: Education is for Everyone.

This looks fascinating…Depending on how the API is structured, I could put together a WordPress widget that could show some of this in a sidebar. Or I might be able to use some of the widgets directly. Huh. The Real Time Congress API.

Amazing. Bike Lanes. Wonder who paid off the State Highway and Transportation folks? Because you don’t need a freaking study: all you have to do is ask yourself “Do I want to rub elbows with cars?” and the answer is NO. European model makes much more sense.

This is very interesting: Vision: How Small, Mostly Conservative Towns Have Found the Trick to Defeating Corporations. What’s the trick? It’s actually very interesting but here’s the gist of it:

Essentially, Linzey believes, the last 40 years of environmental activism hasn’t accomplished very much, and by fighting within the regulatory system, we’ve been barking up the wrong tree.

His colleague Gail Darrell, an organizer in New England, explains, “Under the regulatory structure you’re not allowed to say no to anything permitted by the state — water withdrawals, sewage sludge, biomass plants, toxic waste dumps, landfills — all of that is regulated and permitted by state agencies and they issue permits to industry guided by their regulatory statues that allow them to cause harm to the environment within in certain limits. But that structure doesn’t allow a municipality to say no to any of those practices. Your feet are cut off at the beginning. When an industry goes to the regulatory agency and gets an application, once that application is administratively complete that permit must be issued by right.”

Combine this regulatory bias with corporate rights being ingrained in our Constitution (yes, long before Citizens United) and the tables are stacked against ordinary folks. “Corporations have the same rights as people — the first, fourth, fifth and fourteenth amendments,” said Linzey. “They also have rights derived from the Commerce Clause of the Constitution that allows them to sue communities to overturn laws dealing with commerce.” Before Citizens United there were 80-100 years of cases ingraining corporate rights, he said.

To even the playing field a bit, CELDF [Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund] has helped around 120 communities pass binding ordinances that give them the ability to say no to corporate control. Ordinances they’ve helped to draft have given towns the right to eliminate corporate personhood — to say no to water bottling companies drilling for water in their towns, for instance — and to assert the rights of nature.

It’s a long article, but absolutely fascinating to read over.

Meanwhile, in case you were wondering: Revolutionary Logistics — where do all those people go to the bathroom? This article is a week old now; I have no idea how — among the millions in Tahrir Square now — two toilets, no matter how immaculately kept, for women are possibly enough. They must have more infrastructure set up now. But these are the kinds of things that underly protests — a good deal of planning and thinking goes into successful and large scale protests, and Tahrir Square is as stellar an example as I’ve seen.

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