Posts tagged ‘gay marriage’

More on domestic spying; Britain does gay civil unions

Today, the Bush administration attempted to defend its domestic spying program, claiming that when Congress gave the President authorization to use military force in the War on Terrorism (back when we were actually fighting a justifyed war against Afghanistan), it implicitly gave the Presidency authorization to do wiretaps and other intelligence gathering (since wars need intelligence to figure out what the enemy is doing). I feel silly asking this, but are we still officially at war? Certainly we’re still in the War on Terror, the way we’re also still in the War on Drugs and the War on Poverty, last time I checked. However, I don’t think that implies that we can use domestic wiretaps to spy on druggies or poor people. Moreover, I’m surprised that the administration claims that the FISA board is too slow. I had heard that they could do things fast, but I didn’t know that they held emergency meetings at 3AM to do things that fast. On top of that, the government is certainly permitted to spy on people for up to 72 hours before getting FISA approval. I still don’t understand how anyone can justify sidestepping FISA completely by saying that the court is too slow.

On a much happier note, all of Britain now allows gay civil unions which afford pretty much the same legal rights as marriage. Today, Sir Elton John married his long-time partner under this new law. I don’t usually care about celebrities, but I think this is pretty fantastic.

Progress, slowly but surely

The California Senate and Assembly have both passed a bill legalizing gay and lesbian marriage. Our illustrious governator is expected to veto it, but it’s hard to say – passing the bill would alienate him from his conservative Republican base, but I’m not convinced he really wants a career in politics. Vetoing the bill would alienate many gay people who hold power in the movie-making business, which I kinda think is “more” his base. Either way, he’s between a rock and a hard place. We’ll see what happens.

Over the summer, I don’t have my own computer, so I’m not nearly as good at checking my email or updating this thing. And I haven’t been on IM in weeks. If you really need to get in touch with me… good luck. I’ll get back to you eventually… probably… I hope. :-P

Jeff (my best friend) spent the weekend in town. He’s been working at Rockwell Collins this summer, except for a month that he spent in Transylvania. And he’s now in Texas working for NASA (I’m so jealous!). We spent the weekend looking at pictures of Hungary and Romania, which were really really neat. Transylvania really is a creepy old place with castles and fog everywhere. It was wonderful to see him. We were going to go down to St. Olaf and visit Michael (our other best friend), but he was really busy this weekend. Hopefully I’ll get to head down there next week. We’ll see.

It’s looking like Bridge Etc (the “real” Claremont bridge club) will be having games on campus this coming year! Their lease on their building is almost up, and they’re looking for a new place to play. I talked to Dean Chris (in charge of Student Activities) about it, and he seemed responsive. Well, we’ll see how it all turns out.

At this point it’s probably old news, but the California Supreme Court has nullified the 4,000 gay marriages that took place in San Fransisco. However, their reason for doing so is that no mayor or any other elected official should have the power to rule any law unconstitutional, because if everyone did that, there would be no laws in effect. They said that the right way to challenge the constitutionality of such a law is to have a couple apply for a marriage liscense, get denied, and challenge the denial in court (this has since happened). One of my professors at school was married to his partner in SF, so when school starts back up, I’ll have to go talk to him and see what he’s doing about this all. Well, eventually this will get done properly, and I for one am fairly confident that (at least in California) the law will be ruled unconstitutional, and gay marriages will be allowed. We shall see.

Well, I have to go. I’d like to write more in here soon, but doubt I’ll be able to. At this point, count on sporadic updates for a while.

No Updates for a While…

So, I haven’t updated in a while, but at least I have a good reason! I’ve been meaning to switch to Linux (specifically Knoppix, but if things continue this way, I’ll install Gentoo) for a while, and I finally decided to do it. Mac has helped me a lot with this, and I’m sure he’ll help me a lot more with it soon. The plan was this: shrink the Windows partition on my hard drive, and add a Linux partition so I can dual boot. Well, Partition Magic had a major error shrinking the original partition, even though I had enough space to do it. None of the Windows recovery CDs worked, but we eventually got some recovery floppies for Partition Magic itself. These managed to tell us what the problem was, and the fact that it cannot be fixed. We booted up Knoppix (which worked fine, because it runs from a CD), and managed to get read permissions on the now-corrupted hard drive. This was enough to back up a lot of things to CD. I had backed up the really important stuff before (like airline reservations), but this allowed me to save my entire music collection, most of my movies, and various other things that I can do without, but not easily replace. Then we reformatted the hard drive. That was a little sad, but it’s done now, and I think it’ll be good for me to redo everything, because anyone who has worked on my computer knows that my system of directories is haphazard at best. I made a 20GB partition for Windows (I’m really only going to use it for games and ShareScan), and the rest went to Linux. Because we reformatted the hard drive, I had also lost the backup copy of Windows that came with the computer (HP has this great idea where they don’t give you the boot disks, and instead charge you extra to recover your system for you, when you could do it yourself). So Mac used a Windows XP CD that he had. We put in the serial code, and it installs and boots fine. I go to start the many, many security updates (4 more security problems were discovered in IE yesterday alone!). I get to the updates, and they claim that my serial code is not valid! ARGH! The part that bugs me is that my main reason for switching now is that things were starting to go really, really wrong with Windows. For example, I couldn’t use my POP3 client to check my school email any more, and I couldn’t open webpages in new windows any more either. Things were going really wrong (the last time I’d seen this, within 2 months our copy of Windows 95b was corrupted). And now I can’t even reinstall!

So I try to put Knoppix on the other partition. First, I read several tutorials online, all of which turn out to either be out of date, or for the German-only version of Knoppix, or other things like that. I finally find the tutorial for my system, and start that. Knoppix claims I haven’t partitioned my hard drive yet! and when it tries, it says that it only has read permissions on the hard drive, and can’t reformat it, even with root privs (this is supposed to happen, Knoppix is given read-only privs to stop you from screwing up whatever OS you’re currently running). I finally manage to get Knoppix to try to install, and it can’t. It gives this really cryptic error message, and quits. This whole thing is so frustrating. I know that once I get both OSes installed with the proper software and updates, I shouldn’t have to do this ever again (at least, not until I buy a new computer). Nonetheless, this is very frustrating. Well, I’ll go bug Mac and Michael some more, and hopefully they’ll be able to help. In the meantime, I’m writing this from the computer lab in the LAC.

On a brighter note, today the Senate stopped the constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage (if you don’t want to get a free account with the New York Times, go to BugMeNot). I’m quite glad this has happened. To the best of my knowledge (please correct me if I’m wrong), no proposed amendment has ever tried to take the rights away from a small subset of the American people (some have taken rights away, like Prohibition, the 18th Amendment, which took the right to drink away, but that was from everyone, not a select demographic). While I am not gay, I’m rather pro gay rights. While he didn’t mention homosexuals in his poem, I’m reminded of Martin Niemöller’s poem “First They Came”:

First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out-
because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out-
because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out-
because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out-
because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me-
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

If we let the religious right oppress homosexuals, what will stop them from oppressing atheists, or Muslims, or women (sadly, there are still a few nut-cases in power who think women should not have the right to vote). Though I guess part of my mentality comes from going to Mudd – according to the Princeton Review, we are the 11th most homosexual-friendly campus in the country (I’m too lazy to find the link to this statistic, but if you really want, I’m sure you can find it). I have several friends who are openly gay, and one professor who got married in San Fransisco to his partner (husband? I’ve always heard gay couples referred to as partners, but I don’t see why they’re not pairs of husbands and wives). Anyway, I think this is just wonderful.

Lets see… I’ve been playing a fair amount of ultimate frisbee lately. Now that Carrie’s back, and people read my summer-l about how West Nile Virus really isn’t that deadly (It isn’t! The media like to hype things like this, because it boosts ratings. If you want a copy of my email, write to me, and I’ll send it when I get my computer back up), we actually have enough people to play games (last week, we just played catch). It’s a lot of fun, and hopefully it’ll build up my endurance before soccer starts in the fall.

Well, I should get going, but hopefully I’ll have my computer up and running soon, and then I’ll post more.