Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas 2011

I became aware of these two videos within 24 hours of each other, and they both make me smile...

At first I envisioned some kinda east coast <--> west coast chick singin' let it all hang out goofy Christmas song video rivalry, like them rappers used to have... (That is what them rappers used to have, yes?!?)

But the fact is, I'd much rather see 'em workin' together, sometime, somewhere... I think they're both phenomenal talents, and I urge anyone unfamiliar to get to know these performers better... (Obviously, this isn't their best work, but for what they are, these videos are pretty great...)

East Coast: Antigone Rising

West Coast: Francesca Valle

For more info:
Antigone Rising
Francesca Valle

Merry happy, everyone... Celebrate, and be joyous.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

is The Right To Free Speech Unlimited?

In reply to American Power: Patricia McAllister Fired by LAUSD: Anti-Semitic Teacher Caught on Tape at 'Occupy L.A.' Protest

Here is the story:

(Ironic last line, if ya ask me...)

Dr. Douglas expresses some very definite views on the matter in his post:
"The woman's entitled to her opinions, no matter how sick..."

"I find McAllister's comments reprehensible. But as one who's been the subject of a three-year campaign attempting to get me fired, I have serious issues with concern trolling bullshit like this."

"The district states a principle, yet abandons it because the teacher is untenured. Thus, being tenured creates rights that are denied to individuals not similarly situated. Ugly or not, the woman was stating her opinion, a political opinion, at a political rally while acting in private capacity. The district's decision reaches into the realm of personal space. And it should not. This is tyranny. They fired her because they could, not because it was right. And there's so much more going on there: McAllister taught small children, so perhaps parents would have been upset, as the Times suggests. Fine. Let the parents pull their kids out of class. Or better yet, let them pull their students out of the school altogether."

"Note how McAllister is not misspeaking when she spouts her hatred. It would have come out on the job, sooner or later. And if the kids in her charge are young and vulnerable, transfer her into the higher grades. If students are offended they'll know without having to be force-fed outrage. They can complain fair and square and the school would have been on solid ground in terminating her for racist, discriminatory speech in the classroom, prohibited by statutory regulation."
Donald Donald obviously believes that free speech is an absolute right, and there can be no abrogating the right of someone to say whatever they wish, without official consequence. It's an attractive idea...

But some feel differently...

From: Free speech -- within limits -
"This newspaper ardently supports the right to free speech, even when that speech is controversial, hateful or ignorant. But no right is absolute, and Patricia McAllister, a substitute teacher with the Los Angeles Unified School District, crossed a line with her anti-Semitic comment at Occupy Los Angeles."

"McAllister wasn't at work when she spoke. Though she identified herself as a school district employee, she was careful to note that she was not speaking as a representative of L.A. Unified. And Deasy knows as well as anyone that courts have historically — and correctly — protected teachers' free-speech rights.

But there are limits. As a teacher, McAllister works with a captive audience of vulnerable children. Her comments certainly raise questions about her ability to treat them all equally and fairly. What's more, even if she's been the soul of discretion on the job, as well as kind and evenhanded with all her students, by making herself a public symbol of intolerance, McAllister no longer can serve effectively as a teacher."

"As execrable as her comments were, it might be a different matter if McAllister were, say, a Department of Motor Vehicles clerk. There, she would be dealing with adults who could hold their own, and would have little direct authority over them. It also might be different if she had expressed a controversial opinion that was not an inflammatory attack on a particular ethnic or religious group.

We're reluctant to restrict anyone's ability to express even the most loathsome views openly and publicly. But when a teacher trumpets hateful opinions that could intimidate the impressionable young people she's supposed to be serving, that's not just free speech — it's a performance issue. In speaking out so intemperately, McAllister's ability to do her job was fatally compromised."
I'll note here that I made a similar distinction regarding WHERE someone works as regards another teacher, posted before this story broke (or before I knew anything about it, anyway), saying:
"While I oppose online disputes going offline, there are folks who have a legitimate right to speak to individuals at a person's place of employment, even about online issues--including someone's boss, if that's where it led--assuming the grievance is valid.

Were I a student or parent of a student at LBCC, it's likely that I would request not to be assigned into any of Dr. Douglas' classes, based on what I believe to be bigoted attitudes about African Americans, Muslims, gay folks, and those he deems too far left of center. I wouldn't want to be forced into subjecting myself or my child to someone who espouses such views, and were I a student or parent at that school, I believe I would have both the right and good cause to express my concerns. (Whether it's the right thing to do in a given circumstance is subject to interpretation, of course, and different individuals will likely have different opinions. While I'd speak up if Donald was a teacher or a candidate running for office, I wouldn't if he was a fry cook or a shoe salesman, though I probably wouldn't shop/spend money where he worked even then, just on principle.)

The same principle comes into play in the case of Vicky Knox, who was mentioned by one of the bloggers above. Vicky absolutely has free speech... ...but so do the parents in that school district, whether in support of her or otherwise. Free speech doesn't mean you're protected from having folks disagree with you...or even from folks holding you accountable for what you say..."
The debate is given a good airing in the comments at Libertarian Republican: Nazi-sympathizing LAUSD worker given the Axe by School District, including the following:
Chuck, OCTOBER 19, 2011 1:52 PM:
"Rightfully? Had she not announced who her employer was, thereby associating her remarks with same, you might have a point. Short of that, she has no case to make. If someone working for me was on tape all over the internet saying, "Yeah, I work for Coffer Contracting and I hate me some Jews, and we need to run their asses out of the country.", They'd be lucky to escape getting the shit beat out of them by yours truly, and I sure as shit wouldn't feel compelled to keep paying them to wreck my public image. Any suggestion that it should be otherwise is simply irrational."

Gary, OCTOBER 19, 2011 2:10 PM:
Chuckie only sees the little picture.

What happens when those evil and racist "Tea Baggers" are fired for their hate speech?

KN@PPSTER, OCTOBER 19, 2011 5:58 PM:
Chuck is meta-right -- to the extent that she may have associated her employer with her remarks, they had reason to dissociate from her.

On the other hand, this wasn't just any employer -- it was a government agency. I may not like private discrimination, but it's a right. Discrimination, even against the truly reprehensible, on the taxpayer dime is less justifiable.

And on the third hand, does anyone think that she'd have been fired if she had been speaking in favor of a school bond issue, or in support of same-sex marriage, or for in-state tuition for immigrants?

Even given my earlier statement, I do find the absolutist argument seductive, too. And of course, it all gets tied up in the fact that this woman worked for the government, rather than a private interest, which brings a different degree of scrutiny to bear... Firing her does amount to government censorship of her ideas, and once we grant the government the right to censor her views, an argument can be made that we give them the right to censor any government employee's views, whatever their politics...

Whatever you think about this story now, would your mind change if she had worked for--and been fired by--a private school?... your local pizza joint?...

Does an employer have the right to fire an employee whose outside-of-work behavior reflects poorly on his or her business, and should there be different rules for folks who work for the federal, state, or local government than there are for employees of private schools and businesses?

As long as a teacher keeps his or her disgusting bigotry or other nasty beliefs out of the classroom and off-campus, should there really be no recourse for those who find the bigotry reprehensible, short of removing yourself from the situation--home-schooling or changing schools--assuming that is even possible-- if one is the parent of a student (or the student himself) or finding another job if one is an offended co-worker?

Is there a difference between the freedom to express a thought, and being free of any legal or government consequence after one has done so, and are both embodied in the principle of Free Speech as we understand it?

What about the right of other individuals to speak in opposition to bigoted or other disgusting ideas, including demands that teachers (or anyone) who engage(s) in them not teach (or work) in their community? What obligation does an employer have to their "customers"?

There are limits to free speech... From inciting a riot to libel laws to "free speech zones," it is clear that one cannot say anything one wishes anywhere one wishes without consequence.

I believe that like pornography, there is a line between free speech and offensive speech, and every employee--including government employees--has to avoid stepping afoul of that line, or pass a kind of a smell test when they don't, where "we can't absolutely define it, but we know it when we see it" applies... Firing someone for expressing a conservative, liberal, atheist or Christian viewpoint is different from firing someone for bigoted speech... I trust the American people--in the form of juries, and the judges we elect or appoint--to understand the difference, and to get most of these questions right (though yes, there will be mistakes and decisions with which folks will disagree, just as with every other aspect of our imperfect judicial system.)

As tempting as it is to say all speech is and should be free of legal or government consequence, it's just not realistic... There have to be circumstance-specific standards, and a means to limit the exposure to/of those who refuse to abide by them. One size does not fit all, and each situation should be judged by it's own merits and the standards that apply to it...


Also talking about it:

American Power: Patricia McAllister Fired by LAUSD: Anti-Semitic Teacher Caught on Tape at 'Occupy L.A.' Protest

Free speech -- within limits -

The Devil's American Nihilist Henchmen: Online Disagreements and The Offline World We Live In...

Libertarian Republican: Nazi-sympathizing LAUSD worker given the Axe by School District

Reason Guilty of Anti-ANTI-Semitism: Sub Teacher Fired - Hit & Run : Reason Magazine

Monday, October 17, 2011

Hot Chicks of Occupy Wall Street (video)

Hot Chicks of Occupy Wall Street from Steven Greenstreet on Vimeo.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Bigot's a Bigot, no Matter how Small (That is to say, ethically small)

"While the term [ebonics] is avoided by most linguists, it has gained a certain amount of salience outside of academia (such as on Internet message boards), often as the object of ridicule, particularly when it is inaccurately parodied as more different from Standard American English than it really is. Black American linguist John McWhorter argues that the use of Ebonics as a term does more to hinder black academic achievement than to help it, in that considering an ethnic group's slightly-different speech to be a completely different language from English serves only to widen the perceived divide between whites and blacks in America." - Ebonics - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Yep... That's for sure...

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Does Noel Sheppard of speak (and presumably, understand) the same language as the rest of us?

Cokie Roberts on Downgrade: "The Problem That We Have Here Is the Constitution" - - Noel Sheppard

ABC's Cokie Roberts said something on national television Sunday that made her colleague George Will shake his head on camera.

During a "This Week" discussion about the recent credit rating downgrade by Standard and Poor's Roberts said, 'The problem that we have here is the Constitution of the United States of America which actually does require people to come together from different perspectives" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

Am I the only one left wondering whether some of these wing nut types speak the same language as the rest of it... When you watch that video, isn't it obvious to you that when she says --
"This group of people in New York [Standard and Poor’s] is actually talking about more government rather than less government, Congressman. In fact, the reason they like France and Great Britain is because they’re parliamentary systems where the majority gets what it wants no matter what.

And the problem that we have here is the Constitution of the United States of America which actually does require people to come together from different perspectives whether it's divided government or not. We have divided branches of government under any circumstance."

--she's saying the Constitution of the United States of America is a problem for those who prefer the parliamentary systems of France and Great Britain, where majority rules, no matter what [that group of people in NY - Standard and Poor's], and NOT that the Constitution of the United States of America is a problem for America itself, which seems to be the meme this Sheppard wingnut is trying to sell??

What the fuck is WRONG with these people?

Read more:

ADDED: As I was following the other links attached to this nonsense via Memeorandum, I came across this wingnut site, which features this prescient quote: "IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO SPEAK IN SUCH A WAY THAT YOU CANNOT BE MISUNDERSTOOD." -- KARL POPPER (I might add the word "willingly" in there between "be" and "misunderstood" for circumstances like this one (because yeah, I believe this is just another manufactured rightwing nontroversy ginned up to attack "the lib'rul lame stream media"), but it's a good quote nevertheless, with or without my added word...

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

How Clinton Handled His Debt Ceiling Crisis Better Than Obama: A few choice lines...

A few choice lines for the Obama White House and elected Democrats in general to remember, going forward:
Clinton would have none of it. “If they send me a budget that says simply, ‘You take our cuts or we’ll let the country go into default,’ I will veto it,” Clinton said at the time, calling Republican tactics “economic blackmail.”
Instead of attempting to negotiate over the cuts, Clinton simply vetoed both bills. “America has never liked pressure tactics, and I would be wrong to permit these kind of pressure tactics to dramatically change the course of American life,” Clinton said. “I cannot do it, and I will not do it.” The government shut down.
Still, even though Clinton enjoyed political and economic advantages that Obama does not, his no-compromises strategy had some clear advantages. Unlike Obama, he refused to let the threat of default set the national agenda. Because he would not enter into negotiations over the debt ceiling, the issue barely roused the public consciousness. On November 9, 1995, a senior administration official told the Washington Post, “Our position is it does not matter what they put on this legislation, we are not going to accept anything but clean bills because we will not be blackmailed over default. Get it? No extortion. No blackmail. What you hear are their screams of complaint as they realize we are not, not, not budging on this.”

Quotes from How Clinton Handled His Debt Ceiling Crisis Better Than Obama | The New Republic

"Never negotiate with terrorists. It only encourages them."

The Tea Party’s War on America -

Recommended on the first paragraph alone... Call these folks whatever "civilized" names you (or they) want, but the next time a bunch of elected officials say "give us what we want, or the whole country gets it," (default, ruined lives, economic meltdown, or whatever it is they'll hold to everyone's head the next time), perhaps it'd be worth remembering that to negotiate with people who are threatening folks only encourages them to do it again, with more dire threats, and for even higher stakes.

Never again.

The United States does not negotiate with folks threatening harm to others to get what they want.


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Investigate Pamela Geller...

"We are stockpiling and cache weapons, ammunition and equipment. This is going to happen fast."- Pamela Geller's anonymous Norwegian commenter, in 2007
Who was that guy (or "those guys"--the writer did say "we," not "I") in Norway "stockpiling and cache weapons, ammunition, and equipment" back in 2007? Was it Anders Breivik, or will it be the next rightwing extremist(s) who commit(s) violence somewhere in Europe?

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Best (Not-So-New) Thing In The World (Faith)

I have little to add to this, except to say that it gives me hope, and bolsters my faith...

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Thursday, July 28, 2011

How Many Responsible Counter-Jihad Bloggers Are Out There, Anyway?

In response to this list*, (the content of which seems pretty intelligent and nuanced to me, for the most part), I offer the following (three, currently, though I'll be glad to add more if anyone can point me to any) blog posts by right wingers that--at least in these posts--seem to have a handle on the difference between being opposed to violent muslim extremism (islamism, islamofacism), and being opposed to muslims and the Muslim faith (islam, itself).

1) A Responsible Anti-Jihadism? - Josh Travino - The New Nixon (From 2009, but prescient)

2) On Islamophobia and Right Wing Extremism - Rusty Shackleford - The Jawa Report (Unfortunately, not all of the writers at The Jawa Report share his thinking'... and if you REALLY want to be depressed about the nature of folks, read the comments of the post, where Rusty is accused of all manner of rightwing / muzzie-lovin' treasons, just for writing the post.)

3) Atlas Shrugs Blogger Pamela Geller an Inspiration for Terrorists - Dean Esmay - Dean's World (This post first appeared in the list cited above. A little rooting and reading on his blog showed that this "progressive" is actually not a progressive at all... Since I included this post here, I did not repeat it below.)

4) ...
(Because I'm really hoping there are more than three, out there...) ((To be fair, I have not done much of a search, as yet... These three kinda fell into my lap, and I was impressed enough to write this post acknowledging them. If/when I have one for #4, this blurb will become #5, and so on, until I find at least as many "responsible anti-jihad bloggers" (to coin borrow a phrase) as I have hateful ones.))

*That list, in case you'd rather not:
In response to Norway attacks, right-wing bloggers suddenly demand nuance - The Plum Line - The Washington Post

Balloon Juice - “This rhetoric,” he added, “is not cost-free.”

Booman Tribune ~ Pam Geller Compares Herself to John Lennon

Little Green Footballs - NYT: US 'Counter-Jihad' Bloggers Heavily Influenced Oslo Terrorist

Daily Kos: Norway killer found inspiration in American anti-Islamism

Rightbloggers Discover the Real Victims of Norway Mass Murderer Breivik: Themselves - Runnin' Scared

Anders Breivik's Christian Terrorism in Norway: Are Pamela Geller and other anti-Islamist bloggers responsible? - By William Saletan - Slate Magazine

UPDATE: What I said above about these bloggers saying the right thing "in these posts, at least" was dead on... Josh Trevino, from the #1 link above, was the same asshole who advocated killing everyone--including American citizens, and even including a Jewish holocaust survivor--EVERYONE, who took part in the Gaza aid flotillas, likening them to Nazi sympathizers... Yes, REALLY!: Former Bush Speechwriter: Shooting People On Gaza Flotilla "OK" Because Participants Are Like Nazis. He's still an example of better rightwing thinking on Muslims in the post above, but it only goes to show that even a fucked up broken individual like him can have moments of clarity and a soul worth saving... But what a fucktard... (Just reading that shit he spewed about people who believe Israel has no right to blockade another country, makes me want to shower. Guess all that macho talk makes him feel more like a man... Which, if you've seen him... Well, let's just leave it at that...)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Growing Scourges - Rightwing Nationalism? Islam? How about Extremism...

Found at the small dead animals post, Oslo: The Christian Response, (but also quoted approvingly here, too):

From today's Toronto "Red" Star editorial:
'The best catharsis Norway can have is to expose a mass murderer for what he is, to publicly refute his twisted ideology and to bring him to justice. The light and air of a public courtroom are the best disinfectants. This case matters to other European countries as well. Rightwing nationalism is a growing scourge that can inspire a lunatic fringe.'
Can you imagine them writing the following?
'The best catharsis America can have is to expose mass murderer Nidal Hasan for what he is, to publicly refute his twisted ideology and to bring him to justice. The light and air of a public courtroom are the best disinfectants. This case matters to European countries as well. Islam is a growing scourge that can inspire a lunatic fringe.'
Nope. Me neither."
In both cases, the ideology of the killers needs to be examined and discussed. But Breivik's murderous acts were not the product of nationalism (or even "rightwing nationalism") any more than Hasan's murderous acts were the result of Islam.

Both were the result of extremism, each of their own variety. Yes, rightwing nationalism / Islam were factors in the stories, but only in the sense that Anders Breivik and Nadal Hasan claimed to be acting in furtherance of those ideologies, but in both cases they had created &/or were influenced by others who had bastardized what these ideologies are actually about and how they are put into practice by their more mainstream adherents.

Now obviously, I'm not all that familiar with Islam, but I do know that the Muslim faith is one of the great religions throughout the world, practiced by millions of people, and that it is a fraction of Muslims who are extremists in word or deed.

I know even less about rightwing nationalism, but I can imagine and empathize with those who see their country and it's traditional identity slipping away. (I find it far easier to imagine and empathize where "old Europe" (or old anywhere) is concerned; the USA started out a nation of immigrants, and still is.) While I'm staunchly opposed to bigotry--also a function of being an American and of our being a nation of immigrants, I think--I don't have much of an issue with countries maintaining their heritage by limiting immigration and demanding a degree of adherence to the customs and laws of the land. The key is, the laws must apply to all fairly. If a country chooses to limit immigration, they should limit immigration from all countries, not just certain ones. If a country chooses to limit (or allow) religious expression or adornments in schools, the laws governing such things should apply whether one is a Muslim, a Christian, a Jew, or any other religion.

Obviously, it's far easier to say than to do, and I'm sure accommodating the needs of one faith will sometimes require more than accommodating the needs of another. I can only say that there is value in living and letting live, sometimes. You're not losing anything if another faith gets an accommodation you do not need or want, and in my opinion it's a little petty to bitch, if that is the case. While the analogy is by no means perfect, there is some value in treating religious accommodation the same way many schools, etc treat accommodations for disabilities. The child with dyslexia isn't getting something extra that your non-learning disabled child isn't getting; both children are getting the same instruction, based on their needs. By the same token, some children have needs that cannot be met in a normal school setting, and it is neither discriminatory or a privilege to have them attend elsewhere, whether that need is specialized instruction due to a physical or mental deficit, or the ability to worship several times during a school day, as required by one's faith.

Bigotry is a problem (and yes, I think that some of the folks being criticized a a result of the Norwegian killer quoted them have said and done bigoted things. That doesn't make them responsible for what the guy did, but it isn't out of the question to talk about what they're saying or to criticize it, either. The fact is, Breivik's quotes and claims shined a light on these anti-muslim/counter-jihadist writers, and there is nothing wrong with talking about their words and ideas.)

The real problem though, is extremism, whether one is an islamist terrorist, a leftwing ecoterrorist, or a rightwing nationalist terrorist. People who commit acts of violence or large-scale vandalism in furtherance of a political outcome are dangerous, and need to be opposed and stopped. (Small-scale vandalism ain't so hot either, but there's a vast difference between spray painting a sign or breaking a window, and blowing up a building or a bulldozer.) There will always be bigots and separatists and people who want to force you to think, act, and believe as they do. Ugly words and ideas can inspire ugly acts, but they are not the cause of those ugly acts. That doesn't mean one cannot criticize the ugly words and ideas--indeed, I believe one has an obligation to do so--but it's foolish to attribute one person's ugly thinking for another's ugly deeds.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Herman Cain figures out the Constitution forbids him to discriminate against Muslims


(More info: EXCLUSIVE: Herman Cain Tells ThinkProgress ‘I Will Not’ Appoint A Muslim In My Administration | ThinkProgress)


(More info: Cain Rewrites History: I Said I Would Not Be Comfortable With ‘A Terrorist In My Cabinet’ | ThinkProgress)

He does not care. He feels the way he feels... (...even if it is bigotry toward muslims--who're all terrorists, y'know) he's feeling.)

And as far as Sharia law in US courts...

While there have been few if any cases of US courts deferring to religious law, religious arbitration "courts" do exist, including those that include Sharia for Muslims, or Halacha (Halakha) for Jews. (Even Catholics subscribe to Cannon Law which, like Sharia and Halacha, does not replace US secular law, but acts along side it.) Such religious arbitration is voluntary for all parties (though of course, there can be in-group pressures to adhere to what the rabbi or imam decrees, even if your position does not prevail.) But where these religious laws are substantially in conflict with US law, US law prevails.

I'm not surprised that the Constitution does not allow the majority to vote away the right for a minority to have their religious arbitration, especially where the majority is singling out one religion's legal arbitration, rather than ALL religious arbitration. (This is likely the same reason the Dutch hit Muslims and Jews alike when they banned ritual slaughter of animals, preventing halal and kosher butchery, in one fell swoop. There had been an exemption for jews and muslims for many years, but no more...)

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.

He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.

He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.

He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:

For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing taxes on us without our consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:

For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:

For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies:

For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:

For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.

We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts: John Hancock, Samual Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Delaware: Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

Source: The Pennsylvania Packet, July 8, 1776
Early America Declaration of Independence Quiz

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Annual Repost of Julia Ward Howe's Mother's Day Proclamation

Mother's Day Proclamation
by Julia Ward Howe

Arise then...women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
Say firmly:
"We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country,
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."

From the voice of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says: "Disarm! Disarm!
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice."
Blood does not wipe our dishonor,
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil
At the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace...
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God -
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality,
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.

(For lighter fare, check out my other retread from Mother's days past, Mother’s Day: 5 Things (still) Worth Knowing.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Something Someone Else Said (A Brain Rage meme)

Acknowledging that I'm once again "borrowing" from one time fellow blogger and lifetime honorary nihilist* JBW, his "something someone else said" blog meme, my post.(Fair warning, Webb... This prolly won't be the last time I use the meme or otherwise put your brain on display on one of my blogs. I get why you're not blogging these days, but dude, you got skills, yo. And if you're not gonna make use of 'em, I'm gonna get 'em out there as best I can... 'nuff said.):
"Personally, I am simply against torture. In all instances. I don't care if it gave us Bin Laden's location. Torture is absolutely morally abhorrent, in the same way as rape, and something completely contrary to the standard of human dignity appealed to by America's greatest thinkers.

This post might as well be titled 'Rape Works!' and include a story about how a raped woman got pregnant."
- Richard Booth, May 3, 2011 9:51 AM comment at the American Power post, Waterboarding Works!

*We're not really nihilists... Some just think we are...