America

Can we retire the word "racist"?

You might have heard, there is somewhat of a kerfluffle about the new science fiction movie, District 9. There have been a few blog entries either asking the question, or outright saying that the film is racist. And I don't disagree with many of the characterizations of the movie that some bloggers have.
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What would Jesus do?

Dr. George Tiller from Wichita Kansas, a physician who performed legal late-term abortions, often when a woman's life or health was at risk, was shot and killed in church this morning. This is the most recent in a very long history of attacks and murders of physicians who perform abortions. I have read varied comments on varied blogs today where people have been suggesting that this was a good thing.
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My Inauguration Post

I spent the morning at a friend's house with a small group of folks watching the Inauguration. Obama's speech was, as usual, a call to the best of who we are, and the best of what this country means. It was moving. In going out and about today, people were smiling, wearing their Obama shirts, and feeling elated. Twitter has been abuzz with activity. There is so much to say about what happened today. So many have said so much.
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The new meaning of Black Friday

You probably heard: a worker at Wal-Mart was trampled to death (and others injured) during a mad rush on the store because of sales this Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year. Apparently, two thousand people were willing to wait in line for hours, and rush the store entrance at 5:00 am to get the best deals on plasma screen TVs and Nintendo Wiis. I've been trying, ever since I heard about it, to wrap my mind around it.
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Proposition 8: fear on both sides

I've been thinking a lot about Proposition 8 - both before the election, and after it. In truth I have mixed feelings about the whole gay marriage thing (for example, how it happened that lesbians went from thinking it was an institution of patriarchy to something we wanted,) but that's a different post for a different time. I'm saddened, of course, that a lot of people in California voted to add a discriminatory amendment to the consitution.
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Where Freedom of Religion and the State Clash

I've been watching the whole saga of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (or FLDS). It is a very interesting situation, for sure.
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Of Garlic Festivals and Community

I went to the North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival in Orange, Massachusetts today. It was, in its way, a pretty standard festival - lots of booths, and food, and stages for musicians, etc. It was fun, for sure. The "GQ" index (Ruth and I like to talk about the "GQ" or "Grooviness Quotient") of the festival was quite high. It was a "trash-free" festival - everything was recycled or composted, which was wonderful. All of the electricity was generated either by biodeisel or solar power.
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"Structural Deficiencies"

It has become somewhat of a meme, that phrase, taken from reports about the bridge that collapsed in Minnesota.
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Strange Bedfellows

Today is the last day of the social forum workshops. Since I've been "off duty" both in terms of tech stuff, and in terms of doing workshops, I've been wandering around to different workshops. I went to a good workshop I'll talk about in more detail in the next post. It's been very interesting - a quite intriguing mix of people and perspectives and attitudes about social change. One of the fascinating things that is going on is that the USSF is overlapping at the Westin with a National American Miss pageant.
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North Topsail Beach, war zone, and zone of forgetfulness

On the first day we arrived here, at North Topsail Beach, where we are spending some time before we can move into our house in Shutesbury, my partner and I would hear this bumping sound. It was windy that day, and we thought that must be a window that was banging open, or a chair that was banging against something outside. We'd keep hearing it - sometimes it was so loud we could feel it, too. Sometimes, it was several sounds an hour, sometimes hours would go by without the sounds.

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