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Archive for June, 2009

Normally I don’t put politics on this blog, but there are reasons to make the occasional exception; this is one of them. My State Assemblywoman, Speaker of the Assembly Karen Bass (D), voiced some opinions regarding the rights of free speech that I found, well, objectionable. The following is the letter I sent her:

Dear Speaker Bass,

As a resident of the 47th district, I’m writing to express not just dismay, but absolute shock at the opinions you expressed in an interview with Patt Morrison of the Los Angeles Times. This is the exchange in question:

How do you think conservative talk radio has affected the Legislature’s work?

The Republicans were essentially threatened and terrorized against voting for revenue. Now [some] are facing recalls. They operate under a terrorist threat: “You vote for revenue and your career is over.” I don’t know why we allow that kind of terrorism to exist. I guess it’s about free speech, but it’s extremely unfair.

So, wait a second. Calling up a talk show or the legislator’s office directly and expressing a strongly-held opinion is the equal of terrorizing someone? Promising to oppose their candidacy or even to attempt to recall them -a process provided for under state law- is terroristic? For a talk-show host to call attention to legislation he opposes to try to gather opposition to it is extremely unfair?

Perhaps it’s slipped your mind, but Americans, even Californians, have the right to free speech and to petition for the redress of grievances, even if rudely expressed. It’s protected under the 1st Amendment in the Bill of Rights. May I also remind you of Article 1, Section 2(a) of the California Constitution:

ARTICLE 1  DECLARATION OF RIGHTS
SEC. 2.  (a) Every person may freely speak, write and publish his or her sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of this right. A law may not restrain or abridge liberty of speech or press.

Everything you complained about is protected political speech under both the US and California constitutions and surely cannot be considered “abuse.” They are expressions of the natural-born rights of all people, and for you as a public official to accuse political opponents exercising these same rights of being terroristic is elitist, insulting, and profoundly anti-democratic. That you, one of the highest officials of our state government, should complain that free speech allows this to happen is appalling, and it calls into question your qualifications to serve in any elected office.

So, let me engage in a little free speech of my own: I do not want someone with your cavalier attitude toward the rights of citizens to represent me in any capacity, and I will work to see you replaced in the next election.

with regards,

–Anthony Ragan

Is it any wonder that the state of California is in the mess it’s in, when its so-called leaders hold the electorate and democracy itself in such contempt?

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…But may:

Britney Spears to star in Holocaust time-travel movie?

What’s next? Pee-Wee Herman as Abraham Lincoln?

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Very happy

My copy of Chaosium’s Basic Roleplaying arrived today, and it even managed to survive unscathed being shoved into a way too small mailbox by a criminally careless postman.

Time to get to reading. 🙂

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No, it can’t be:

But they even have a web site. Imagine: someone had to come up with the idea and then experiment with prototypes.

Or maybe I don’t want to imagine it….

Thanks (I think) to Exurban League.

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Just a quick update on my “no buying books until I’ve read ten I already have” Long March, last updated here. Since then I’ve finished White Guilt, Betrayal: France, the Arabs and the Jews, and, just today, Ferling’s Adams vs. Jefferson: The Tumultuous Election of 1800. All of them I highly recommend, especially Ferling’s book, and I hope to post reviews of them soon.

Regarding Roberts’ A History of the English-Speaking Peoples Since 1900 … we’re still working on that. It’s entertaining, provocative, and easy reading (though I have found one disturbing gaffe in it so far), but it’s a big book, which means only reading it at home when I have the time. Likely this will the the tenth and final book.

What’s next? I’m not sure. I read mostly non-fiction, as you can see: History and Politics are often much more interesting to me than fiction, but perhaps it’s time for a change of pace. Yet there’s very little fiction on my shelves that I haven’t already read and, to fulfill the quest, I should really read something I haven’t yet gotten round to. But what?

Decisions, decisions.

Meanwhile, I should start thinking about what I want to buy as my reward…. 🙂

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Chaosium‘s Basic Roleplaying system, the engine behind Call of Cthulhu and other games they once produced, has been out in its own book since 2008. Finally! Only 20-25 years after it should have been out, when it would have stood a chance to be a major alternative to other multi-genre systems, such as Hero or GURPS. Ah well, I’m still glad to see it.

And even gladder I found it at a hefty discount on Half.com.

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Words fail me

Except, perhaps, for “OW!!”

Erotic ‘daggering’ dance craze causing bodily harm

AN erotic dance craze is thought to be the cause of a recent spate of broken penises in Jamaica, and now faces a government crackdown.

“Daggering”, a lewd dance style where couples simulate dry sex in various positions to the beat of the music, is characterised by over-the-top gyrating, heavy pelvis-thrusting and daredevil leaps.

Many couples have taken the “rough” daggering dance from the club to the bedroom, with disastrous consequences.

Jamaican doctors were prompted to issue a warning on the dangers of daggering when presented with a range of fractured penises caused by rough intercourse.

Maybe they should stick to the Macarena.

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