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First Amendment rights and responsibilities


"The day that this country ceases to be free for irreligion it will cease to be free for religion -- except for the sect that can win political power." -- Justice Robert H. Jackson, dissenting in Zorach v. Clauson, 1952

And we're there.

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I. Love. This.

The Stockholm underground, from what I understand, used to be a great place to work. Connex, now calling themselves Veolia Transport, has really fucked it up.

Democracy in action

I was a poll watcher for the Obama campaign today.

I knew nothing about the precinct except that it was in rural Hinds County. It turned out to be hard to find.

I got there at 8, having voted in my own precinct and rushed out there (it's about a half-hour drive from where I live). The precinct is called St. Thomas, and the polling location is at the St. Thomas Baptist Church. It is pretty seriously out in the country.

At about 9 o'clock, I heard the poll workers, all of whom were black, talking about how they had already had 119 voters; they said that normally they'd have about 98 voters at 4 p.m. It was obvious that turnout was going to be extraordinary, at least in this little precinct. I asked the poll manager how many people were registered in the precinct.

"The last time I counted the roll it was 350," she said, in a tone that indicated she hadn't counted lately.

The final tally at 7 p.m., when our polls closed, was 346 regular ballots and 18 affidavit ballots.

I don't think I saw ten white people vote during the course of the day.

As I sat there, watching a variety of people vote -- young, old, well-dressed, not-so-well-dressed, loud, quiet -- it was the old people who particularly struck me. After all, they (the black ones, that is) are old enough to remember not being able to exercise their right to vote. I teared up several times during the day.

I'd like to be able to say that my state delivered good results for our President-Elect. McCain appears to have carried Mississippi by about a 16-point margin.

But I think back twenty-eight years, to Ronnie Raygun's callous "It's morning in America" (um, yeah, for you and your rich friends). I remember my friends whose blood is on his hands. I've been waiting twenty-eight years for the American people to decisively reject that appalling ideology of selfishness. And it's finally happened. At ten o'clock this evening Central time, CNN called the race for Obama, and at ten o'clock this evening Central time, I wept.

NOW it's morning in America.

The headline translates as: "Survey: 1 of 3 Americans is racist."

Better headline: "Survey: Americans more honest with themselves than Swedes."

Swedes like to paint themselves a picture of the U.S. as a country seething with racial tension, as opposed to Sweden, which of course is a utopia of racial harmony.



I regularly read 43Folders, a lovely and consistently fascinating blog about productivity and personal fulfillment.

A new post appeared there today. You should go here now.

My goodness, the nostalgia.

OK, go ahead, think I'm crazy. But I just discovered this and it makes my heart ache.



I just moved two doors down from where I was living.

Why, you may ask? Better management, better kitchen, better living room arrangement (dictated by the placement of the cable connection). I like the new bathroom a lot less, but other than that, I'm very pleased.

How fitting

I'm currently reading Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment one episode at a time, thanks to the excellent DailyLit.

I couldn't help thinking of the Bush administration when I read this sentence in today's episode:

What's the most offensive is not their lying--one can always forgive lying--lying is a delightful thing, for it leads to truth--what is offensive is that they lie and worship their own lying.


Another one

(I do have something else I want to blog about, but perhaps tomorrow.)

I decided to show a whole sequence this time. I generally find that things get really, seriously weird when I translate into Japanese, and then they get even stranger when I translate into Korean (right after Japanese; I'm doing the languages in alphabetical order).

I started with this:

Today, I can have fun with my granddaughter.

and got this from Chinese (Simplified Han):

Today, I can obtain the pleasure and my granddaughter.

Then from Chinese (Traditional Han):

Today, I can obtain the pleasure and my granddaughter. (This time it was the same thing, but it often varies just a little bit.)


Today, I can obtain the pleasure and my granddaughter.


Today, I can obtain the pleasure and my grand-daughter. (I found that new hyphen interesting.)


Today I can receive the pleasure and my granddaughter.


Today I can receive the pleasure and my grandson. (Apparently the granddaughter was struggling with gender-identity issues.)


Today I can receive the pleasure and my grandson.


As for present me it is possible to receive the joy and my grandchild. (Told you.)


To receive, a joy and my, hand week B it is possible regarding a present time. Oh dear.


To receive, a joy and mine, week B of the hand is possible regarding a current stay. GIGO, I'd say.


So that it would obtain, the joy and mine, week b of hand on the possibility relatively at present of a stay.


So that it obtained, the joy and the mine, week b of the hand in the possibility relatively at the moment of a stay.