tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (fantastic!)
I've felt joy bubbling up within me all day.  I walk around with a goofy smile on my face, spontaneously breaking into song at times.  I am just so proud of American voters for making choices that were so much better than I feared they'd choose:

-Barack Obama gets a second term. I watched his victory speech last night, and it honestly moved me to happy tears. Obviously giving a good speech is easier than accomplishing real things.  Still, I am cautiously hopeful that with more experience under his belt and no need to worry about his reelection, maybe in his second term Obama can be more of the president I want to see.  He mentioned climate change in the speech, which is a big deal after he pretty much ignored the issue of our catastrophically warming planet during the campaign.

-Marriage equality passed popular votes in Maryland, Maine, and Washington, while Minnesota voted against putting discrimination in their constitution.  I believe that the tide has turned towards justice on this issue, and I hope to see many similar decisions in the years to come. 

-The Republicans who were prominent dickheads about rape, including Akin and Mourdock, lost.  Looks like women's bodies shut that whole thing down.

-There will now be record numbers of women in Congress, including an all-female delegation from New Hampshire, and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, the first openly gay senator.

-Prop 30 passed in California, leading to temporary tax increases with the money going to stop brutal cuts to education funding.  This is great news for kids, students at public colleges/universities, and also my job security.  California voters have been really reluctant to vote to tax themselves in recent decades, so I'm really pleased that people looked at the big picture rather than just their pocketbooks here.  Also, California voted to ease up our super-harsh three strikes law a little bit.  Sadly the ballot proposal to abolish the death penalty in CA failed, but that was a long shot. 

-Democrats retained control of the Senate, though unfortunately without the supermajority that is needed to break filibusters. 

-Recreational marijuana legalized in Washington state and Colorado.  While I am personally not keen on marijuana, keeping it illegal does FAR more harm than good.  The drug policy in the US is badly broken, and this is a step towards common sense. We shall see whether this actually results in much practical change, because it is still illegal in federal law. 

-My excellent congresswoman, Lois Capps, defeated her Republican challenger in a close race.

It's important to keep things in perspective.  The Republicans still hold the House of Representatives in firm control, so the Democrats still have limited ability to get anything done.  This election was not exactly a sweeping nationwide progressive mandate in all things; many of the races Democrats won were victories of moderate Dems over ultraconservative Republicans.  Still, this is a time to celebrate the triumph of diversity, compassion, data, and good sense over fear mongering, greed, and fundamentalism.
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (high five or die 10)

HUZZAH!!!!! (celebratory gifs under the fold) )

So relieved.  Thank you America.

Also, Todd Akin loses to Claire McCaskill.  As a friend wrote on Facebook, looks like women's bodies had ways of shuting that whole thing now.  The Senate in general looks likely to remain Democratic, which is AWESOME.
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (Protect the environment!)
From a friend's facebook posting, I have a highly entertaining batshit theory written by Krayton Kerns, an actual current member of the Montana House of Representatives.  It features not only the usual right-wing gripes about big government and liberals destroying Christianity in the schools, but also such creative elements as bison and Walt Disney!

"This winter, under the cloak of darkness and against Montana Code, 60 bison were relocated from the quarantine facilities of Yellowstone National Park (YNP) to the Fort Peck Reservation along the Missouri Breaks. This is the second of a four step process to crush the republic and bring our populace into perfect dependence on big government—just as Karl Marx dreamed. If you missed steps one and two, you will likely refuse to acknowledge steps three and four, but I will explain them anyway.

More under the cut )

The full blog post (I didn't quote a few intro and closing paragraphs) is here, and this story was also reported in the Huffington Post.

First, the biologist in me would like to state that Kerns clearly has some highly optimistic ideas about bison reproductive capacity.  They only have one calf a year, and 20-40% of wild bison die in their first year (source). I don't feel like crunching the numbers, but I'm dubious about whether you're going from 60 bison to enough to ravage a landscape in a decade.  Maybe he means the thousands of bison currently in Yellowstone will rampage out too, but that herd is already managed, partially with lethal methods, to keep them from straying off the park too much (due to concerns of disease transmission if they mingle with cattle) . 

Second, wow, this is some hilariously off the wall conspiracy stuff.  Walt Disney set (or was a symptom of others setting) our nation on a path to Earth-worship and eventual subjugation of the free people of Montana by big government and bison.  Just like Karl Marx dreamed! 

I want to laugh.  Then I remember that this is an actual elected official in the country in which I live.  Then I want to hide in a corner and pray for Gaia to send some bison to protect me.

Meanwhile, in other evidence of how those wacky environmentalists are clearly in control of everything, in places across the US in June 2,284 daily temperature records were broken and another 998 were tied.  The link has some pretty impressive maps, but the story never once mentions climate change.  (And this in NPR, which is popular among lefties.)  Of course no single weather event, even a huge national heatwave, can prove that climate change is happening, just as no single cold and snowy winter can disprove it.  Still, this is part of a global pattern of heat and severe weather.  Climate change is happening now, and it's just going to get worse. 
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (protest button)
Late Monday night/Tuesday morning, the NYPD told Occupy Wall Street protestors to get out and shortly afterwards began moving to forcibly evict or arrest the protestors.  (Coverage by NY Times and Mother Jones) There are reports of pepper spray and use of excessive force.  (Video here of police arresting people.  Lots of shouting and screaming, shoving, batons out.)  The protestors' stuff, including a library of 5,000 donated books, is being thrown away.  Really, NYPD?  Destroying books?  This is not what democracy looks like.

If they're trying to quell the protests, late night raids with rough tactics aren't the way to do it.  Not only is it against the spirit of our democracy, it's dumb tactics.  Left to the cold of the New York winter, it's quite possible that people would have gone home and let the movement fade to old news.  But sometimes protests can be like Obi Wan Kenobi:  strike them down, and they become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.  I hope that's the case with this one (so long as we stay nonviolent).

Like any protest movement, this one has some flaws, but I think it's important.  OWS has changed the national conversation to be more about fixing inequality, not just the Tea Party's pet issue of reducing government spending that had been dominating the news.  It expresses the need for deep change that helped push progressives and many other Americans to vote for Obama, but which he has largely failed to implement.  Its internal processes are a worthy experiment in direct democracy (if not efficiency).  It sets the true lives of the people against the falsity of corporate personhood.  It's the voice in the urban wilderness speaking out on behalf of the 99%.
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (Protect the environment!)
Earlier this week, Mississippi rejected the awful personhood amendment that would have put fertilized eggs above the rights of women to use birth control, get abortions, and even use IVF.  Hooray!  That was a bit of somewhat unexpected sanity on the part of the voting public.  Of course the creeps behind the amendment intend to try again in other states, so the battle continues, but winning in a conservative state like Mississippi is a big deal. 

I just heard about another piece of political good news.  I've been following the fight against the Keystone XL pipeline, a proposed pipeline that would have carried oil from Canada's tar sands down to the US Gulf Coast refineries.  Not only would this have involved potential for oil spills across important watersheds, valuable farmland, and wilderness, it would have supported tar sand oil, which has an environmental impact even more devastating than other oil.  Mining it involves essentially skinning huge tracts of land, then requires processes to convert the tar sand into oil that themselves use large quantities of energy, making tar sand oil a climate catastrophe.  The pipeline's approval depended on a permit that could be issued by the executive branch, no need to involve congress.  Thus, protestors have focused on asking President Obama to turn down the pipeline and live up to his campaign promises to fight climate change.  The good news is that Obama has just sent the pipeline back to the state department for thorough review, which could well kill the project.  YAY!!!  This isn't over, but it's another important victory that seemed unlikely not so long ago.  We get so few even minor victories in the struggle against climate change in the US, so this is cause for celebration.

Two pieces of political good news in one week.  That must be some sort of record.  In celebration, let's watch a video of astronauts falling down on the moon:

tardis_stowaway: spock giving live long and prosper sign with caption "be excellent to each other" (be excellent to each other)
I was pondering putting up a poem by Langston Hughes, one of the ones I'm familiar with such as "Dream Deferred" or "Theme for English B."  Instead, I found "Let America Be America Again" while browsing through a selection of his poetry.   This was the first time I've read it , but it really resonated with me. It speaks with the particular historical voice of Hughes, an African-American poet writing in 1938, but it is still far too relevant today.

Let America Be America Again )
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (big damn hero)
Don't Ask, Don't Tell was repealed!  Huzzah!!!!!  This is such good news. 

Very annoyed about the Dream Act not making it through.  Hmmph.

Meanwhile, back in a happy place, KITTY.  Also, it's pouring down buckets of rain outside, which makes me happy.  I love listening to it on the roof, though I'm not really looking forward to driving in it for my planned movie excursion later this evening. 
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (run)
I'm back in California after my travels!  I may try to post a little about what that was like later, but the short summary is college reunion in Philadelphia = utterly wonderful, if overly humid and far too short; New York = expensive but generally fun; return trip by train = gorgeous, peaceful, a great experience, but boy was I glad to finally get a shower at the end.

With all of that traveling, I fell way behind in the TV meme that I foolishly started right before departure.  Rather than inundate you with all my thoughts about TV in one fell swoop, I think I'll post two or three a day until I'm caught up.

Day 3: Your Favorite Show Ever )

Day 4: A Show You Hate )
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (ms hippie freak to you)
Politics ahead again.  If that's not your thing, feel free to depart. 

Most days, bears shit in the woods, Glenn Beck says horrible shit on TV, and it's all rather gross but not worth getting worked up about it.  It's going to happen whatever you do.  Today, though, [livejournal.com profile] orange_crushed  posted about a recent quote from Glenn Beck that is just too appalling to ignore.  According to Beck,  people should leave any churches that talk about social justice, because that's just code for Nazism and Communism.  Here's an article

Rather than trying to balance my urge to CURSE IN CAPSLOCK*  with the urge to write a long-winded post about how concern for social justice is integral to my faith, I will just direct you to people who say it better than I could given my current sleepy state:

[livejournal.com profile] orange_crushed 's clear, succinct, but forceful post on the subject

A Catholic priest points out the wrongheadedness of Beck's idea in an article entitled "Glenn Beck to Jesus:  Drop Dead"

Or how about this:  And the king will answer them, Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” –Matthew 25: 40. 

Social justice:  it's for long-haired Jews who hang out with prostitutes and tax collectors, talk about forgiving enemies (supporting the terrorists, clearly), and don't even own a car. 

tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (change is good)
I don't know what the folks at Huffington Post are on, but I suggest that they keep at it.  They posted an article on which US politicians ought to be cast as the Doctor.  If you're not going WTF?, you're not paying attention.  The article is moderately amusing for their explanations of why certain politicians are like the Doctor, though mostly I can't possibly conceive of these people in the role (even aside from the fact that they are American politicians).  Hillary Clinton might have regenerated her public persona, but, meaning no disrespect, none of those personas have been very Doctor-ish. 

However, the article did propose one Doctor and companion pairing that won the Internet forever:

Doctor:  Barack Obama
Companion:  Lady Gaga

WORLDS OF YES!  I WOULD PAY IN CASH AND POSSIBLY BODY PARTS TO SEE THIS.  Obama has Nine's ears, Ten's geekiness, and the general Doctorish commitment to hope and idealism with a steely underlayer.  A depressingly large number of Americans are already convinced that he wasn't born in the US anyway...why not Gallifrey? 

The true genius of this, though, is the companion casting.  Obama!Doctor's intellectual calm with side of dorkiness would be well (and hilariously) balanced out by Lady Gaga's total out-there in your face personality.  Anybody who goes out on stage wearing those insane heels she sometimes sports is brave enough to be a companion (though let's hope she takes it down to only two- or three-inch heels when she has to run).  If they wanted to have a companion who wasn't from 21st century earth, viewers could easily believe that she's from the future and/or alien.  (Heck, I like the idea of Michelle Obama as the relatable human companion and Lady Gaga as a second, alien companion, or possibly a personification of the TARDIS or something.)   Cosplayers would be overjoyed at her distinctive outfits.  Every episode could have a musical number. 

Heck, even without Barack Obama, I would be endlessly amused to have Lady Gaga on Doctor Who.  Kylie Minogue was a singer who appeared as a co-star, so there's precedent.  Amy Pond is already pioneering the territory of how to be a companion without trousers.  Lady Gaga could take over the Daleks so instead of shouting "Exterminate!  Exterminate!" they shouted "Puh-puh-puh-poker face!  Puh-puh poker face!"  Who's with me?
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (I can kill you with my brain)
-A federal judge found that a hospital was within its rights to allow a woman to die without her family at her side because the family in question was the woman's female partner and their adopted children.   The surviving woman wasn't even kept properly updated on her partner's condition.  How do people working at a hospital have so little sense of compassion?  This is why marriage equality matters; legal documents like power of attorney lack the simplicity and force of a marriage license. 

-Thirty senators apparently don't give a damn about rape victims.  They voted against a bill to prohibit the Pentagon from doing business with contractors that forbid their employees to sue over cases of rape.  This new law was aimed at Halliburton and its subsidiaries, and it was necessitated by numerous serious complaints.   The bill passed, thank goodness, but it utterly appalls me that nearly a third of the Senate, including John McCain apparently feel that gang rape (and suppression of the evidence thereof) is just a minor problem that can be solved in arbitration without any possible recourse to courts.  In this Guardian article about the bill, it says that reasons from the senators who voted against the bill include "claims that the government had no business interfering in a private contract between a company and its workers." NO.  These are government contractors; the government has every right to say that they won't do business with these companies if they don't keep to appropriate ethical standards, such as doing everything possible to prevent rape, prosecuting rapists, and not boiling kittens alive.  The government would certainly care if they were doing something like employing undocumented immigrants.

EPIC  FAIL, America.  
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (princess bride dread pirate roberts)
This image is a few months old, but I just found it online today. It made me so happy that I had to share.

George Takei
see more Lol Celebs

George Takei rocks.
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (obama '08)
I can't remember being this moved by anything having to do with the government since I was a small child. Even watching by myself on TV at home, the inauguration was powerful. Times are dark indeed, but the hope I feel is real and justified

Happy New President Day, y'all! We now have a president who understands nuance and ambiguity. We have a president who exhibits empathy and responsibility. We have a president who can give a damn good speech. We have a black president with a multiracial and international family. We have a president who is not George W. Bush.

*dance of joy*

While I'm dancing for joy, let me give an enormous thank you to the mysterious person who nominated "Path of Needles" for the CoT awards! My day was already good, but finding that notification in my inbox kicked the level of happiness up another few notches. Any more happy things and there could be spontaneous bursting into song around here. :D

I now bring you some further reassurance about the world from pundit kitchen:

Obama Pictures and McCain Pictures
see Sarah Palin pictures
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (change is good)
This is fantastic:

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

Now I'm off to go contra dancing wearing my super-swirly Renn Faire skirt. Hooray!
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (obama '08)

I am jubilant right now!  I am so thrilled that my country made this choice.  Filling in the bubble for Obama in the voting booth was such a wonderful feeling, even though my state's presidential result was never in doubt.  This is the president we need.  His acceptance speech was marvelous.  It brought tears to my eyes. 

I'm keeping my fingers crossed for the CA ballot measures, but it's not looking good for gay marriage.  :(  I just don't get it, people.  Love is love.  Why discriminate against some of it?

But Obama will be president!  I'm so pleased that it's a broad victory and not just Kerry's states plus Ohio or Florida.  A real, unifying mandate will do Obama and this country a world of good.
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (obama '08)
We interrupt your regularly scheduled fanfic, memes, random anecdotes, and other normal pointless content of this journal to bring you some monumentally important information. Those of you who are in the US, please make sure you vote on November 4! In most states the registration deadline has passed, but even once you're registered you still need to make sure you know where you're voting and make sure your vote is counted. Here are some tools:

-Google has a handy tool that will tell you your polling place and also seems to provide information about absentee ballots.

-Is there a chance you can't make it to the polls on election day? If you aren't sure, get an absentee ballot NOW (the deadline for requesting one is Tuesday the 28th in many states) or see if you can vote early. (Here's a handy post with additional information about early voting for many states. It's on Daily Kos, a liberal blog, but the info is useful for those of all political persuasions.) Voting early may be a good idea even if you could theoretically vote on election day just to save yourself some lines.

-Carry this number in case you encounter problems on election day: 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683). It's the Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights, recommended by a friend of mine who is volunteering there. Whoever wins, let's make this election HONEST.

-Another RL friend of mine writes, "In some states, there is concern that people might be turned away from the polls for wearing buttons, t-shirts, hats, etc. with candidates' names on them because this could be considered electioneering. It's mostly been Republicans pushing for this one. Whether or not this actually is an issue remains to be seen, but it's safer to leave that Obama t-shirt/Sarah Palin hat/Britney Spears for City Council vest at home. Moon boots, singing neckties, and paper dresses are all okey-doke." Heck, fellow geeks, you could break out your costume from when you stood in the really long line for the release of Harry Potter 7/ The Lord of the Rings movies/whatever else it is that last motivated you to stand in line for a long time and develop passionate opinions.

-If you are still in line when the polls close, don't panic! You will be allowed to vote as long as you got there by closing time. Expect long lines in most places, so bring snacks, weather-appropriate clothes in case the line stretches outside, a book and/or a friend to keep you entertained, and whatever else you need for a lengthy wait.

-Don't stop with voting for president! Search out information about whatever else is on the ballot for your area: congress, state legislature, state ballot measures, city council, minister of silly walks, whatever. All these less charismatic races can have a big influence on your life! (I can't remember if there are any other Californians on my flist, but I hope any of you out there will vote No on Prop. 8, which is the ballot initiative attempting to ammend the California constitution to ban same-sex marriage. If you're outside CA, consider donating to the No on 8 Campaign , which could use some cash for a final publicity blitz. Do it for George Takei!)

That's the useful information. Time for a brief ramble. I'm a nervous wreck about this election, y'all. I'm obsessively reading the news (and not getting any fic written because of it). Things are looking good for my man Barack's chances at the moment, but after the last two elections I have very little confidence in the American people's ability to choose wisely and the electoral system's ability to express that choice if they manage to make it. Twenty five is too young to be this jaded, so help me restore my confidence in democracy! The voting booth is as close as many of us will get to a TARDIS, because its importance is bigger if you go inside.

Right. Enought serious stuff. Now for some humorous videos you might have already seen!

Silly videos: Les Misbarack, Palin Disney movie trailer, and the final debate in one minute )
Finally, here's something to let you relax and take your mind off politics and the even more terrifying economy: cake wrecks, one of my favorite blogs, just had a special guest feature on Dalek cakes gone horribly, horribly wrong.
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (fantastic!)
I needed to share This Modern World, one of my favorite political comics, this week.  Doctor Who fandom is taking over the world!  (The politics contained here are leftie, so be aware.)

tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (Protect the environment!)
93% Mike Gravel
91% Dennis Kucinich
85% Barack Obama
84% John Edwards
83% Chris Dodd
82% Joe Biden
80% Hillary Clinton
70% Bill Richardson
39% Rudy Giuliani
25% Ron Paul
25% John McCain
18% Mitt Romney
18% Tom Tancredo
17% Mike Huckabee
8% Fred Thompson

2008 Presidential Candidate Matching Quiz

Wait, who's Mike Gravel? I know that I'm not a perfect match for any of the mainstream candidates, but I'd predicted it would match me with Kucinich. Not that I'm voting for either Pebbles (err, Gravel) or Kucinich. I may be Lefty McGreenPants, but I'm also practical. I want a voice in the race between the people who have a realistic chance of getting elected. Obama's my main man, although I would also be quite content with Edwards.

January 20, 2009 can't come soon enough.
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (Protect the environment!)
In one camp, we have cows, Dick Cheney, oil and coal companies, apathy, moose, and mammoths*.

In the other camp, we have Al Gore, people of conscience everywhere, and...kangaroos?

Yes, apparently kangaroos are the next big thing in the struggle against global warming. Crikey! Because of their gut bacteria, kangaroos have methane-free farts. Scientists are hoping to figure out how to give these bacteria to cows and sheep to clean up their emissions.

It's kangaroos vs. moose, with the fate of the world in the balance!

Meanwhile, I just learned that Christopher Eccleston is vegetarian, which  means when I drag him off to a love-nest we can share meals warms my herbivore heart.

*Many people know that cow farts are a huge source of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. A recent Norwegian study found that population increases and diet changes among moose are causing them to also produce dangerous amounts of greenhouse flatulence. Melting permafrost is allowing frozen mammoth dung to thaw, thus releasing still more methane.


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