edschweppe: A closeup of my face, taken at Star Island during the All-Star II conference in 2009 (Default)
As I noted in my previous entry, Barbara Lenk, the most recent nominee to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has been the focus of quite a bit of a kerfluffle by virtue of her being the first openly gay nominee. There have been a few recent developments that folks might be interested in:

First, Judge Lenk has been confirmed:
Barbara A. Lenk, a veteran Massachusetts Appeals Court judge, won confirmation yesterday to a seat on the Supreme Judicial Court, becoming the first openly gay judge to serve on the state’s highest judicial body.

The Governor’s Council confirmed Lenk on a 5-to-3 vote. She is Governor Deval Patrick’s fourth appointment to the seven-member SJC, which issued the landmark 2003 ruling that made Massachusetts the first state to legalize same-sex marriage.
The three councilors who voted against Judge Lenk claimed that her sexuality had nothing to do with their decisions.

Second, Sally Naumann, whose testimony at Lenk's confirmation hearing inspired my mother to write a letter to the Boston Globe, had a letter of her own published in the Globe. Ms. Naumann, alas, is firmly convinced that homosexuality is a choice and that gays and lesbians are actively recruiting new members for their secret cabal.

Third, and on a much happier note, my extremely cool Mom says thanks.
edschweppe: A closeup of my face, taken at Star Island during the All-Star II conference in 2009 (Default)
As I noted in my previous entry, Barbara Lenk, the most recent nominee to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has been the focus of quite a bit of a kerfluffle by virtue of her being the first openly gay nominee. There have been a few recent developments that folks might be interested in:

First, Judge Lenk has been confirmed:
Barbara A. Lenk, a veteran Massachusetts Appeals Court judge, won confirmation yesterday to a seat on the Supreme Judicial Court, becoming the first openly gay judge to serve on the state’s highest judicial body.

The Governor’s Council confirmed Lenk on a 5-to-3 vote. She is Governor Deval Patrick’s fourth appointment to the seven-member SJC, which issued the landmark 2003 ruling that made Massachusetts the first state to legalize same-sex marriage.
The three councilors who voted against Judge Lenk claimed that her sexuality had nothing to do with their decisions.

Second, Sally Naumann, whose testimony at Lenk's confirmation hearing inspired my mother to write a letter to the Boston Globe, had a letter of her own published in the Globe. Ms. Naumann, alas, is firmly convinced that homosexuality is a choice and that gays and lesbians are actively recruiting new members for their secret cabal.

Third, and on a much happier note, my extremely cool Mom says thanks.
edschweppe: A closeup of my face, taken at Star Island during the All-Star II conference in 2009 (Default)
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has nominated an appellate judge from my home town of Carlisle, Barbara Lenk, to fill an open seat on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. This is the same court whose decision in Goodridge vs. Department of Public Health first legalized same-sex marriage in the United States.

The nomination has caused a bit of a kerfluffle, since Lenk happens to be a lesbian. In fact, if confirmed, she would be the first openly gay justice on the SJC. She also is married, having wed her partner after the Goodridge decision took effect. Sadly but unsurprisingly, that led to some unpleasant testimony at her confirmation hearings, including this bit from another Carlisle resident:
"This will be a clarion call to all that want to indoctrinate our children into homosexuality," testified Sally Naumann, who, like Lenk, lives in Carlisle. "How will we ever be able to say no to our children?"
In reply to that article, my mom, who still lives in Carlisle, wrote the following letter to the editor of the Boston Globe:
IN YOUR April 29 editorial "Decision on Lenk should focus on her record, not her sexuality," you write that Sally Naumann testified before the Governor’s Council that Judge Barbara Lenk’s nomination to the state Supreme Judicial Court would be "a clarion call to all that want to indoctrinate our children into homosexuality." I have lived in Carlisle for 50 years, and known Naumann for most of that time. Our sons went to school together. Never have any of my gay friends, co-workers, and neighbors tried to indoctrinate me or my sons into homosexuality. They have been too busy living active, fruitful lives contributing to our town, state, and country.
And that is one of the reasons why I have an extremely cool mom.
edschweppe: A closeup of my face, taken at Star Island during the All-Star II conference in 2009 (Default)
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has nominated an appellate judge from my home town of Carlisle, Barbara Lenk, to fill an open seat on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. This is the same court whose decision in Goodridge vs. Department of Public Health first legalized same-sex marriage in the United States.

The nomination has caused a bit of a kerfluffle, since Lenk happens to be a lesbian. In fact, if confirmed, she would be the first openly gay justice on the SJC. She also is married, having wed her partner after the Goodridge decision took effect. Sadly but unsurprisingly, that led to some unpleasant testimony at her confirmation hearings, including this bit from another Carlisle resident:
"This will be a clarion call to all that want to indoctrinate our children into homosexuality," testified Sally Naumann, who, like Lenk, lives in Carlisle. "How will we ever be able to say no to our children?"
In reply to that article, my mom, who still lives in Carlisle, wrote the following letter to the editor of the Boston Globe:
IN YOUR April 29 editorial "Decision on Lenk should focus on her record, not her sexuality," you write that Sally Naumann testified before the Governor’s Council that Judge Barbara Lenk’s nomination to the state Supreme Judicial Court would be "a clarion call to all that want to indoctrinate our children into homosexuality." I have lived in Carlisle for 50 years, and known Naumann for most of that time. Our sons went to school together. Never have any of my gay friends, co-workers, and neighbors tried to indoctrinate me or my sons into homosexuality. They have been too busy living active, fruitful lives contributing to our town, state, and country.
And that is one of the reasons why I have an extremely cool mom.
edschweppe: (vote at your own risk)
The GOP/Tea Party "shut it down!" crowd haven't shut down the Federal Government (yet). But they have managed to force the cancellation of ...

... a ceremony marking the first battle of the Revolutionary War.

As reported on boston.com:
In a shot that may be heard 'round the nation, Concord officials canceled tomorrow's kickoff Patriots Day event marking the dawn of the American Revolution because of the looming threat of a federal government shutdown.

At Meriam's Corner, members of the Concord Independent Battery planned to fire their cannon at 1 p.m. tomorrow while the area's Minute Man companies marked the fighting that pushed the British regulars back to Boston on April 19, 1775.

But the exercise — which kicks off a raft of Patriots Day events this month — was called off because it would have taken place at the Minute Man National Historical Park, which will close if a federal shutdown takes place at midnight tonight.

[ ... ]

"The Meriam's Corner event really is the kickoff for our Patriots Day observances," Sideris said. "We have done an awful lot of restoration around the Battle Road, which refers to the path the British had to follow as they fought all the way back to Boston Harbor – 16 miles and all along the way the colonists were firing on them."
The event is cancelled regardless of whether or not the government shuts down tonight, because the organizers couldn't get permits from the National Park Service. Minute Man National Historical Park contains many of the battle sites, including the North Bridge, Meriam's Corner and the Bloody Angle, and a Federal shutdown means all of them will be closed to the public.

Scuppering Patriots Day ceremonies because you're not getting your way on Planned Parenthood funding? Yeah, that's real damn patriotic. </sarcasm>
edschweppe: (vote at your own risk)
The GOP/Tea Party "shut it down!" crowd haven't shut down the Federal Government (yet). But they have managed to force the cancellation of ...

... a ceremony marking the first battle of the Revolutionary War.

As reported on boston.com:
In a shot that may be heard 'round the nation, Concord officials canceled tomorrow's kickoff Patriots Day event marking the dawn of the American Revolution because of the looming threat of a federal government shutdown.

At Meriam's Corner, members of the Concord Independent Battery planned to fire their cannon at 1 p.m. tomorrow while the area's Minute Man companies marked the fighting that pushed the British regulars back to Boston on April 19, 1775.

But the exercise — which kicks off a raft of Patriots Day events this month — was called off because it would have taken place at the Minute Man National Historical Park, which will close if a federal shutdown takes place at midnight tonight.

[ ... ]

"The Meriam's Corner event really is the kickoff for our Patriots Day observances," Sideris said. "We have done an awful lot of restoration around the Battle Road, which refers to the path the British had to follow as they fought all the way back to Boston Harbor – 16 miles and all along the way the colonists were firing on them."
The event is cancelled regardless of whether or not the government shuts down tonight, because the organizers couldn't get permits from the National Park Service. Minute Man National Historical Park contains many of the battle sites, including the North Bridge, Meriam's Corner and the Bloody Angle, and a Federal shutdown means all of them will be closed to the public.

Scuppering Patriots Day ceremonies because you're not getting your way on Planned Parenthood funding? Yeah, that's real damn patriotic. </sarcasm>
edschweppe: (vote at your own risk)
Today is Election Day in the US, as I'm pretty sure that most of the USAians who follow this journal know. The user icon is a picture of the sign directing people to my own precinct's polling place; I've always liked the juxtaposition of "voting" and "own risk". Yeah, democracy can be dangerous, and voting can be risky; but it's the least-bad method I know of to run a country.

For those of us for whom today is election day - have you voted yet? I have.
edschweppe: (vote at your own risk)
Today is Election Day in the US, as I'm pretty sure that most of the USAians who follow this journal know. The user icon is a picture of the sign directing people to my own precinct's polling place; I've always liked the juxtaposition of "voting" and "own risk". Yeah, democracy can be dangerous, and voting can be risky; but it's the least-bad method I know of to run a country.

For those of us for whom today is election day - have you voted yet? I have.
edschweppe: (vote at your own risk)
It's all over my friends-list, and in fact all over the news, but in case anyone missed it, a Federal judge has declared that California's "Proposition 8" (which banned same-sex marriages in the state) violates the US Constitution.

From boston.com:
A federal judge overturned California's gay-marriage ban Wednesday in a landmark case that could eventually force the U.S. Supreme Court to confront the question of whether same-sex couples have a constitutional right to wed.

The ruling by Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker touched off a celebration outside the courthouse. Gay couples waved rainbow and American flags and erupted with cheers in the city that has long been a magnet for gays.
The full decision is available on the court's website at https://ecf.cand.uscourts.gov/cand/09cv2292/files/09cv2292-ORDER.pdf (343kb) (and copies are all over the Web by now). Chief Judge Walker's conclusion is striking:
Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite-sex couples are superior to same-sex couples. Because California has no interest in discriminating against gay men and lesbians, and because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.
Walker's not what anyone would call a flaming liberal. He was originally nominated by Ronald Reagan, and appointed by George H.W. Bush, rotating to the Chief Judgeship in 2004. Maybe that'll keep the cries of "judicial activism!" down for a change.
edschweppe: (vote at your own risk)
It's all over my friends-list, and in fact all over the news, but in case anyone missed it, a Federal judge has declared that California's "Proposition 8" (which banned same-sex marriages in the state) violates the US Constitution.

From boston.com:
A federal judge overturned California's gay-marriage ban Wednesday in a landmark case that could eventually force the U.S. Supreme Court to confront the question of whether same-sex couples have a constitutional right to wed.

The ruling by Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker touched off a celebration outside the courthouse. Gay couples waved rainbow and American flags and erupted with cheers in the city that has long been a magnet for gays.
The full decision is available on the court's website at https://ecf.cand.uscourts.gov/cand/09cv2292/files/09cv2292-ORDER.pdf (343kb) (and copies are all over the Web by now). Chief Judge Walker's conclusion is striking:
Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite-sex couples are superior to same-sex couples. Because California has no interest in discriminating against gay men and lesbians, and because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.
Walker's not what anyone would call a flaming liberal. He was originally nominated by Ronald Reagan, and appointed by George H.W. Bush, rotating to the Chief Judgeship in 2004. Maybe that'll keep the cries of "judicial activism!" down for a change.
edschweppe: (vote at your own risk)
There's an interesting article in today's Boston Globe about how people respond to news stories that happen to confirm their preexisting notions - and, more importantly, fail to respond to stories that tend to disprove them:

In the end, truth will out. Won’t it?

Maybe not. Recently, a few political scientists have begun to discover a human tendency deeply discouraging to anyone with faith in the power of information. It’s this: Facts don’t necessarily have the power to change our minds. In fact, quite the opposite. In a series of studies in 2005 and 2006, researchers at the University of Michigan found that when misinformed people, particularly political partisans, were exposed to corrected facts in news stories, they rarely changed their minds. In fact, they often became even more strongly set in their beliefs. Facts, they found, were not curing misinformation. Like an underpowered antibiotic, facts could actually make misinformation even stronger.
(emphasis in original)

It's probably ironic that one of my first reactions to this article was to wonder how I could check the writer's claims. On the other hand, it makes intuitive sense to me that someone holding a strong belief about X is very likely to grant great credence to stories that support that belief, and great skepticism towards stories that refute it.

And it certainly explains the fruitlessness of much political discourse.
edschweppe: (vote at your own risk)
There's an interesting article in today's Boston Globe about how people respond to news stories that happen to confirm their preexisting notions - and, more importantly, fail to respond to stories that tend to disprove them:

In the end, truth will out. Won’t it?

Maybe not. Recently, a few political scientists have begun to discover a human tendency deeply discouraging to anyone with faith in the power of information. It’s this: Facts don’t necessarily have the power to change our minds. In fact, quite the opposite. In a series of studies in 2005 and 2006, researchers at the University of Michigan found that when misinformed people, particularly political partisans, were exposed to corrected facts in news stories, they rarely changed their minds. In fact, they often became even more strongly set in their beliefs. Facts, they found, were not curing misinformation. Like an underpowered antibiotic, facts could actually make misinformation even stronger.
(emphasis in original)

It's probably ironic that one of my first reactions to this article was to wonder how I could check the writer's claims. On the other hand, it makes intuitive sense to me that someone holding a strong belief about X is very likely to grant great credence to stories that support that belief, and great skepticism towards stories that refute it.

And it certainly explains the fruitlessness of much political discourse.
edschweppe: (vote at your own risk)
If you have not already cast a ballot in today's special election, and you are in fact a registered voter, get thy buttocks into gear and do so.

I, personally, would prefer that you vote for Ms. Coakley over Mr. Brown. But vote, dammit!
edschweppe: (vote at your own risk)
If you have not already cast a ballot in today's special election, and you are in fact a registered voter, get thy buttocks into gear and do so.

I, personally, would prefer that you vote for Ms. Coakley over Mr. Brown. But vote, dammit!
edschweppe: (vote at your own risk)
From today's Boston Globe:
Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who carried aloft the torch of a Massachusetts dynasty and a liberal ideology to the citadel of Senate power, but whose personal and political failings may have prevented him from realizing the ultimate prize of the presidency, died at his home in Hyannis Port last night after a battle with brain cancer. He was 77.

He was "my Senator" for effectively my entire life.

Sailor, rest your oars.
edschweppe: (vote at your own risk)
From today's Boston Globe:
Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who carried aloft the torch of a Massachusetts dynasty and a liberal ideology to the citadel of Senate power, but whose personal and political failings may have prevented him from realizing the ultimate prize of the presidency, died at his home in Hyannis Port last night after a battle with brain cancer. He was 77.

He was "my Senator" for effectively my entire life.

Sailor, rest your oars.

Yes We Will

Nov. 5th, 2008 12:13 am
edschweppe: (obama vote)
Senator McCain gave a gracious concession speech. (Damn shame that he gave it to such a classless crowd, though.) Then President-Elect Obama gave an even greater speech, praising Sen. McCain, thanking his staff and the millions of volunteers, and reminding the cheering crowd that all the work to date is just the beginning.

Yes We Can. And, starting tomorrow, Yes We Will.

Yes We Will

Nov. 5th, 2008 12:13 am
edschweppe: (obama vote)
Senator McCain gave a gracious concession speech. (Damn shame that he gave it to such a classless crowd, though.) Then President-Elect Obama gave an even greater speech, praising Sen. McCain, thanking his staff and the millions of volunteers, and reminding the cheering crowd that all the work to date is just the beginning.

Yes We Can. And, starting tomorrow, Yes We Will.
edschweppe: (obama vote)
If you're a citizen of the United States of America and you haven't voted yet, today is the day. You don't have to like the candidates I like; I don't have to like the candidates you like. But the nation is facing mighty challenges and perilous times; we the people need to speak loudly and clearly about where we want our nation to go, and the most powerful voice we have is the ballot.

As of just after eight AM, my 2200-voter precinct had cast 324 ballots. My town uses optical-scan paper ballots. Today demonstrates one of the other great advantages of that system (besides traceability, that is): adding more voting stations, to accommodate the expected high turnout, is a simple matter of setting up a few more folding tables with privacy curtains. We had somewhere between twenty and thirty voting booths for those 2200 registered voters. Even though there was an actual, honest-to-goodness line for voting this morning, there was only a few minutes wait.

And now I suppose I should hie myself off to do some productive work, whilst awaiting the results.
edschweppe: (obama vote)
If you're a citizen of the United States of America and you haven't voted yet, today is the day. You don't have to like the candidates I like; I don't have to like the candidates you like. But the nation is facing mighty challenges and perilous times; we the people need to speak loudly and clearly about where we want our nation to go, and the most powerful voice we have is the ballot.

As of just after eight AM, my 2200-voter precinct had cast 324 ballots. My town uses optical-scan paper ballots. Today demonstrates one of the other great advantages of that system (besides traceability, that is): adding more voting stations, to accommodate the expected high turnout, is a simple matter of setting up a few more folding tables with privacy curtains. We had somewhere between twenty and thirty voting booths for those 2200 registered voters. Even though there was an actual, honest-to-goodness line for voting this morning, there was only a few minutes wait.

And now I suppose I should hie myself off to do some productive work, whilst awaiting the results.
edschweppe: (Animated Obama)
There's just one day more until Election Day here in the USA. So here's a little Les Miserables, set in the Obama headquarters:



And, because it's timeless, the last verse of [livejournal.com profile] faxpaladin's filking of the above:

ALL: Tomorrow is the judgement day
Tomorrow we'll discover
What all the voters have in store...
One more dawn...
One more day...
One day more!


(This is, in part, a reprise of a post from last month; it's also an echo of a post from four years ago.)
edschweppe: (Animated Obama)
There's just one day more until Election Day here in the USA. So here's a little Les Miserables, set in the Obama headquarters:



And, because it's timeless, the last verse of [livejournal.com profile] faxpaladin's filking of the above:

ALL: Tomorrow is the judgement day
Tomorrow we'll discover
What all the voters have in store...
One more dawn...
One more day...
One day more!


(This is, in part, a reprise of a post from last month; it's also an echo of a post from four years ago.)
edschweppe: (Animated Obama)
I've been reading The Economist for several years now. I like the fact that they actually cover the entire world. I like the fact that they cover all facets of the world - not just general news, politics and business, but also science and the arts. Naturally, they cover finance and economics, with explanations of the more esoteric bits that an intelligent fellow such as myself can follow without a doctorate in the field. And I especially like the fact that the writing is sharp and witty.

There are a couple of things I don't like about them, alas. They have a policy of never identifying the writers, which makes it difficult to track down anything else their correspondents or columnists write. And their politics - or at least the politics of their US correspondents - tends much more to the Republican side. (There are definite exceptions; I remember several years ago when they called for Donald Rumsfeld to resign over Abu Ghraib.)

So who did The Economist just endorse in the US Presidential race?

Barack Obama, that's who.

For all the shortcomings of the campaign, both John McCain and Barack Obama offer hope of national redemption. Now America has to choose between them. The Economist does not have a vote, but if it did, it would cast it for Mr Obama. We do so wholeheartedly: the Democratic candidate has clearly shown that he offers the better chance of restoring America’s self-confidence. But we acknowledge it is a gamble. Given Mr Obama’s inexperience, the lack of clarity about some of his beliefs and the prospect of a stridently Democratic Congress, voting for him is a risk. Yet it is one America should take, given the steep road ahead.

My, my, my.
edschweppe: (Animated Obama)
I've been reading The Economist for several years now. I like the fact that they actually cover the entire world. I like the fact that they cover all facets of the world - not just general news, politics and business, but also science and the arts. Naturally, they cover finance and economics, with explanations of the more esoteric bits that an intelligent fellow such as myself can follow without a doctorate in the field. And I especially like the fact that the writing is sharp and witty.

There are a couple of things I don't like about them, alas. They have a policy of never identifying the writers, which makes it difficult to track down anything else their correspondents or columnists write. And their politics - or at least the politics of their US correspondents - tends much more to the Republican side. (There are definite exceptions; I remember several years ago when they called for Donald Rumsfeld to resign over Abu Ghraib.)

So who did The Economist just endorse in the US Presidential race?

Barack Obama, that's who.

For all the shortcomings of the campaign, both John McCain and Barack Obama offer hope of national redemption. Now America has to choose between them. The Economist does not have a vote, but if it did, it would cast it for Mr Obama. We do so wholeheartedly: the Democratic candidate has clearly shown that he offers the better chance of restoring America’s self-confidence. But we acknowledge it is a gamble. Given Mr Obama’s inexperience, the lack of clarity about some of his beliefs and the prospect of a stridently Democratic Congress, voting for him is a risk. Yet it is one America should take, given the steep road ahead.

My, my, my.
edschweppe: (vote at your own risk)
Courtesy of the Daily Kos, we have a video of a couple of McCain/Palin supporters (husband and wife?) merrily smearing Obama and Islam at a recent Maryland rally. The good news in this clip is that a number of other McCain supporters, including Dan Zuderi (a "Statewide Leadership Director" for McCain in Maryland) come up to the bigot and tell him in no uncertain terms that his particular brand of slime is not welcome at their rally.



I've heard an awful lot of disturbing reports coming out of McCain/Palin rallies. I'm glad to see that in at least this one case, decency won out.
edschweppe: (vote at your own risk)
Courtesy of the Daily Kos, we have a video of a couple of McCain/Palin supporters (husband and wife?) merrily smearing Obama and Islam at a recent Maryland rally. The good news in this clip is that a number of other McCain supporters, including Dan Zuderi (a "Statewide Leadership Director" for McCain in Maryland) come up to the bigot and tell him in no uncertain terms that his particular brand of slime is not welcome at their rally.



I've heard an awful lot of disturbing reports coming out of McCain/Palin rallies. I'm glad to see that in at least this one case, decency won out.

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edschweppe: A closeup of my face, taken at Star Island during the All-Star II conference in 2009 (Default)
Edmund Schweppe

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