DOMA, GWB and large sugary drinks

Recent news stories of interest to me:

The U.S. appeals court in Boston became the first appeals court to strike down as unconstitutional the federal Defense of Marriage Act. This seemed obvious to this old poli sci major that DOMA violated the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.
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The prosecution of former presidential candidate John Edwards is officially a waste of time and federal resources. Not surprising to me: I had predicted his acquittal. My, I hope the government doesn’t decide to prosecute again after the jury was hung on five of the six charges.
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President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama host former President George W. Bush and Former First Lady Laura Bush for the unveiling of their official portraits. It’s true: GWB can be a funny guy. He starts speaking at about the 10:40 mark; Laura had a good line or two.
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Obama Ordered Wave of Cyberattacks Against Iran. “Concerns have been raised that the revelations will set a dangerous precedent for the future of cyber warfare and international relations.” Makes me feel rather unsettled as well.
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The SpaceX Dragon, after its trip to the International Space station, splashed down safely. While I’m still wishing NASA were doing this, I’m glad some entity in the US is going into space.
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On the heels of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s announcement that he is seeking a citywide ban on all sugary drinks larger than sixteen ounces in restaurants, movie theaters, food carts, and ballpark concession stands, Jon Stewart spent the first third of Thursday’s edition of “The Daily Show” excoriating the proposed law— and Mayor Bloomberg himself.

For Stewart, Bloomberg’s proposed soda ban put him in a particularly tough position: being forced to concede a point to a political adversary who blasted Bloomberg’s idea on Fox News. “I agree with Tucker Carlson,” Stewart said, holding back mock-tears.

Yeah, I hate agreeing with Tucker Carlson too.

The ban reeks of …here’s a term I almost never use, because I generally agree with the legislation protecting people from themselves; I mean, wear that damn seat belt! But this is…nanny state run amok. And The Wife, independently, used the same term. Not that I recommend a Big Gulp – it would give ME a royal headache; I DO recommend these cartoons on the topic.
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Anti-intellectualism is taking over the US; “The rise in academic book bannings and firings is compounded by the US’s growing disregard for scholarship itself.”
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Green Lantern relaunched as brave, mighty and gay. This was reported a “major character,” but this GL “is not the emerald galactic space cop who was, and is, part of the Justice League and has had a history rich in triumph and tragedy. Instead…, Alan Scott is the retooled version of the classic Lantern whose first appearance came in the pages of ‘All-American Comics’ No. 16 in July 1940.” The marketing of this by DC feels like a stunt.
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ALEC Slips Exxon Fracking Loopholes into New Ohio Law. “While the new law will allow doctors to obtain disclosure of fracking chemicals, it places a gag order on them…meaning some chemicals aren’t disclosed to the public at all.” My barber asked me this week what I thought of fracking; I am generally suspicious of the use of so much fresh water. But the secrecy really tips the scale against it.
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I’m giving my daughter a sample spelling test. Seven of the first ten words are these: break, sleigh, steak, eight, great, weigh, prey. I realized I had to give her definitions, because every single one of those words has a common homonym; English is so tricky.

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6 thoughts on “DOMA, GWB and large sugary drinks

  1. I certainly think that anti-intellectualism is a problem, but I do wish that people would stop referring to all the “banned” books in Arizona. I disagree with the decision to stop the program, but the books were not banned. If one doesn’t teach a book in class, does that make it banned. You can read any of the books in the program in any school library in Tucson or statewide, which kind of makes the argument that they’re “banned” sound silly. I’ve made this point before – I wasn’t taught Slaughterhouse-5 in high school. Does that mean the book was “banned”? Of course not; it’s just that my school didn’t offer any English classes in which the teachers used that text. To claim that the books are “banned” makes the protesters sound stupid, because everyone knows they’re not banned. If you want to argue that the legislature shouldn’t have shut down the class, feel free – I’d probably be on your side (although I haven’t attended any of the classes, so I don’t know how true either side – the one arguing it’s a good program and the one arguing it’s anti-American – is) – but don’t say the books have been banned. You can’t find banned books in your school’s library. That’s kind of the definition of banned books, isn’t it?

    Sorry for the rant. Arizona is horrible enough without people making stuff up about it!

  2. Good on you for giving your daughter spelling lessons, but if you want to pass on a skill that she’s just not getting in school I’d suggest grammar lessons. My grammar is abysmal; I’m still not confident with comma, among vs. between, etc. I have been studying Strunk & White but I tend to write longer, more complicated sentences than they deal with.

    I’m happy about SpaceX, too. I just read an interesting post by Dr. Don Petit, a flight engineer on the International Space Station’s 31rst expedition:

    http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/expeditions/expedition30/tryanny.html

    • Chris – As I’ve noted somewhere, almost NO ONE uses among anymore. The rule is btween two, among three or more, but it’s violated regularly.
      Greg- It appears from the article that there were books that WERE acceptable, then suddenly are deemed unacceptable. Not teaching a book is not a ban as you correctly noted. Deciding a book is suddenly unacceptable is a ban. Might even be justified, if it were a Texas textbook, but still a ban.

  3. Roger:

    I know the general two-vs-three rule (“He had to choose between taking an extra math course or a Latin course” vs. “He had to choose among taking an extra math course, a Latin course or an underwater basket weaving course”), but then there’s things like this:

    “Between working on his car, cooking 4-course dinner and an 80 hour work week, he was exhausted.” “Among” doesn’t sound right there, and I can’t tell if it’s because I learned it incorrectly (e.g. “I learned it wrong” sounds right, but “I learned it incorrectly” is actually the correct way to write it.)

    Freaks me out. The handful of people who know the correct way to handle it probably think I’m a moron.

  4. Roger: That’s true. I don’t know if the author understood what was going on (and using The Daily Show as a source is dubious at best), because the books were deemed “unacceptable” BECAUSE the program was deemed “unacceptable.” She even kind of admits this when she writes that her and other books were “in effect” banned. As even critics of the state admit, you can find the books in many of the school libraries and no one will stop you from reading them, but they’re not being taught in classes anymore because the state decided that the program was “in effect” anti-American. Everyone writing about “banned books” does it, I think, with the full knowledge that the books haven’t been banned, but “banned books” sounds more inflammatory than “the state got rid of a program that they thought was bad for the kids, which took the books off the curriculum.” If people want to write about the program being cancelled, they should probably go to Tucson and start interviewing people who have first-hand knowledge of the program, both those who were for it and against it.

    Again, sorry for the rant.

  5. Yes, Bloomberg is a typical Republican always trying to micromanage your life, crawl into your bed, force you to worship their gods and even tell you what size drink containers you are allowed to buy. Remember about seven or eight years ago Bloomberg tried to ban bicycles from NYC?

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