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Journal Archives

CA Legislators: Students who criticize Israel are antisemitic. Shitstorm & Hilarity follows.


California Assembly members passed a nonbinding resolution this Tuesday which equated criticism of Israel with antisemitism and indicated the University of California and other public universities should crack down on demonstrations against Israel on their campuses.

The resolution, written by Republican Assemblywoman Linda Halderman and supported by Democratic Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal was not debated and passed easily. In fact, everything was fine and dandy until sometime Tuesday evening when constituents actually began reading the full text of the resolution which described the following activities (among other things) as antisemitic:

* Describing Israel is a racist or apartheid state
* Indicating that Israel is guilty of crimes against humanity in any matter
* Students or faculty who support any boycott, divestment or sanctions campaigns against Israel
* Students who disrupt "free speech that present Israel's point of view"

That's just a few of them, I link to the full text of the resolution above. Now, most of the above was sandwiched between actual things I think anyone would have a problem with students doing on campus, like physically attacking others or painting swastikas on walls in dorms.

While no one had any qualms with making sure campuses were violence and Nazi-free, a number of organizations were, shall we say, a little put off by the attempt to label students or faculty who expressed negative opinions on Israel as antisemitic.


Well, first it was the Council on American-Islamic Relations who wrote an open letter to the legislators which read, in part:
Although HR 35 does not create any new law, it effectively encourages university administrators to infringe upon students’ free speech rights. By equating legitimate political debates about geopolitics with anti-Semitism, the resolution emboldens administrators to take action to chill and prevent such speech.

Then the group Jewish Voice For Peace put out a press release echoing the sentiments:
While some Jewish students feel uncomfortable with public criticism of Israeli policies, whether articulated by other Jews or non-Jewish students, that does not make that criticism anti-Semitic. The answer is more speech and enhanced communication, not limiting speech in order to avoid the discomfort of some students.

And then somebody went and wrote an opinion piece in Al-Jazeera about it.

Then the president of the San Francisco chapter of the National Lawyers Guild called the resolution "irresponsible and dangerous". He continued:
‘‘In doing so, it can be seen as having no other purpose than to demonize all those who criticize the nation-state of Israel or support the rights of the Palestinian people,’’ he said.

See where this is going?

And then lunchtime yesterday, the University of California responded- basically saying "Yeah, this is bullshit so we're ignoring it."


Well the California Assembly members are now busy trying to hide under each other like sheep in a thunderstorm in order to avoid responsibility. Some blame Assemblywoman Halderman for leaving out all references to Israel during the vote, attempting to sneak the resolution by inattentive legislators. One of the few who didn't vote for the resolution, a Democrat, had a different opinion on why the resolution passed:
Halderman did not mention Israel when she introduced HR35, which passed on a voice vote with 66 of the Assembly’s 80 members signing on as co-authors.

Some of the lawmakers who signed on as co-authors when the resolution was called on the floor seemed surprised to later learn of the references to Israel. Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, was one of the few who did not support it.

‘‘Ignorance reigns up here,’’ he said.

But all is apparently well, because this morning Democratic Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal (who originally voted for the resolution) had a sudden change of heart and assured all Californians this grave error will be fixed.

In January of next year. Probably.

No matter, though, it sounds like it's bound to be a doozy of a correction!
"I'm not sure what all it's going to say, but I think it will boil down to a celebration of the First Amendment," the Long Beach Democrat said in a statement. "And it will make clear in no uncertain terms that students in our universities should feel safe to have differing opinions."

Well, hooray for America and hooray for us all! From a resolution which literally struck out the words "First Amendment to the United States Constitution" (see here) to a "Celebration of the First Amendment"!

She went on to defend Republican Assemblywoman Halderman:
Lowenthal said she regretted that the resolution had drawn controversy but also noted that Halderman, its author, lost family in the Holocaust.

"If she overshot the mark, I'm certainly not going to criticize her for it," Lowenthal said.

I'm with Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano on this one: ‘‘Ignorance reigns"


It would look like Taft won but then Washington would emerge like Luke from the tauntaun's belly.

That's right, Washington would go after Taft right away with the knowledge that he could turn him into valuable meat armor to continue the fight against the other presidents. Should they come close to breaching the Taft, Washington could pop his head out of Taft's chest cavity, distracting and horrifying them long enough to land a fatal blow before moving onto the next.

It may be difficult to imagine George Washington gore-wigged and manipulating the corpse of a dead man from the inside in order to do battle but we must not forget the Washington family motto: "Exitus Acta Probat" ("The Ends Justify The Means")


Having never really looked at Chris Christie for any length of time, this is the image I...

...couldn't shake the entire time he gave that speech:


Sometimes it's all about the signifigance you impart to the act:

To wit, which of these acts allegedly destroys America's standings in the world and which is just one of the cutest things you've ever seen?

As was pointed out here, all presidents bow to foreign leaders and, most importantly, "Following cultural conventions is not submission."

I don't have a problem with bowing to foreign leaders but I really hate any US President bowing to a member of royalty. I find it extremely distasteful. But apparently presidents are going to keep doing it.

So while it is nice to shoot those mouth-breathers pictures of Bush getting ready to play tonsil-hockey with the Saudi king, I suppose the even more correct answer is "Bowing or following cultural conventions does not make a president submissive to a foreign leader." I don't like it, but if there's a correct answer that's probably it.


Big Money, Big Ego, Big Bullshit


Oh shit, I just found this cartoon looking for another image:

So true!

BTW, cool thread for photoshop fun from EarlG!


Billy Bragg - The Lonesome Death of Rachel Corrie

An Israeli bulldozer killed poor Rachel Corrie
As she stood in its path in the town of Rafah
She lost her young life in an act of compassion
Trying to protect the poor people of Gaza
Whose homes are destroyed by tank shells and bulldozers
And whose plight is exploited by suicide bombers
Who kill in the name of the people of Gaza
But Rachel Corrie believed in non-violent resistance
Put herself in harm's way as a shield of the people
And paid with her life in a manner most brutal

But you who philosophise disgrace and criticise all fears,
Take the rag away from your face.
Now ain't the time for your tears.

Rachel Corrie had 23 years
She was born in the town of Olympia, Washington
A skinny, messy, list-making chain-smoker
Who volunteered to protect the Palestinian people
Who had become non-persons in the eyes of the media
So that people were suffering and no one was seeing
Or hearing or talking or caring or acting
And the horrible math of the awful equation
That brought Rachel Corrie into this confrontation
Is that the spilt blood of a single American
Is worth more than the blood of a hundred Palestinians

But you who philosophise disgrace and criticise all fears,
Take the rag away from your face.
Now ain't the time for your tears.

The artistic director of a New York theatre
Cancelled a play based on Rachel's writings
But she wasn't a bomber or a killer or fighter
But one who acted in the spirit of the Freedom Riders
Is there no place for a voice in America
That doesn't conform to the Fox News agenda?
Who believes in non-violence instead of brute force
Who is willing to confront the might of an army
Whose passionate beliefs were matched by her bravery
The question she asked rings out round the world
If America is truly the beacon of freedom
Then how can it stand by while they bring down the curtain
And turn Rachel Corrie into a non-person?

Oh, but you who philosophise disgrace and criticise all fears,
Bury the rag deep in your face
For now's the time for your tears.


We lost the war in Afghanistan on September 9th, 2001, when this man was assassinated:

We lost that war a month before it started and we've been losing it ever since.


Apple vs Samsung: Jurors talk to media about their deliberations, sound like absolute idiots

For such a huge court case I thought it was odd that the jury would only need to deliberate for three days before coming to a full verdict. I haven't been paying much attention to the thing, these titanic battles taking place too often to grab your attention unless it's the kind of thing you follow already. However, after reading Apple's somewhat insane overview of what a company producing smartphones or tablets could do to avoid infringing on Apple's patents, and then reading that the jury had upheld such megalomaniacal claims...yeah, that got my attention.

BTW, Apple's helpful advice? As long as rival tablets and smartphones don't look anything like tablets or smartphones, everything's cool:

I'm not a fan of how Apple does business but this epic fuckup appears to rest solely on the jury's shoulders. And what narrow, fidgety shoulders they must be:
For a start, the jury did not rely on the instructions provided by the judge to determine the outcome, and it seems that they may have made the decision in haste, especially since there were 700 questions to answer.

A juror told CNET that while the nine-person group had debated about the patents heavily, but they skipped on a very important aspect: Prior art.

"After we debated that first patent--what was 'prior art'--because we had a hard time believing there was no prior art, that there wasn't something out there before Apple," said Manuel Illagan.

"In fact we skipped that one, so we could go on faster. It was bogging us down."

'Jury bogged down? Just skip it!' Holy shit.

Like I said, I'm no fan of Apple's business practices but when you have a jury like this making decisions which could have a huge impact on a whole industry neither side really wins in the long run. Take that now-famous "1 Billion Dollar Judgement":
Dan Levine of Reuters has some words from the foreman:

"We wanted to make sure the message we sent was not just a slap on the wrist," Hogan said. "We wanted to make sure it was sufficiently high to be painful, but not unreasonable."

Hogan said jurors were able to complete their deliberations in less than three days -- much faster than legal experts had predicted -- because a few had engineering and legal experience, which helped with the complex issues in play. Once they determined Apple's patents were valid, jurors evaluated every single device separately, he said.

Now the jurors are contradicting each other. Lordy, the more they talk, the worse it gets. I'm sure Samsung is glad they are talking, though. Had they read the full jury instructions, all 109 pages (as PDF), they would have read that damages are not supposed to punish, merely to compensate for losses. Here's what they would have found in Final Jury Instruction No. 35, in part:

The amount of those damages must be adequate to compensate the patent holder for the infringement. A damages award should put the patent holder in approximately the financial position it would have been in had the infringement not occurred, but in no event may the damages award be less than a reasonable royalty. You should keep in mind that the damages you award are meant to compensate the patent holder and not to punish an infringer.

'When in doubt just do whatever, y'all!' Again, holy shit.

These aren't the only inconsistencies in the case, the last two articles I link to go into much more detail. The worst actor in this debacle wasn't Apple or Samsung, it was a jury composed of people who will one day disinterestedly award a company the patent on your balls and include the price of the hunting knife they'll use to cut them off you in the damages.


Fuck off with this bizarro "Clinton as VP in 2012!" meme.

The White House has said many times that President Obama will be sticking with Joe Biden as his vice presidential running mate.

And why shouldn't he? Joseph Biden is doing an excellent job as vice president.

Not even superdelegates could force the President to do otherwise so give it up. You might as well be demanding he drop Biden and replace him with Dennis Kucinich.

See how silly that sounds?

So drop it.

A few months ago, six months ago? Whatever, I don't care.

Now? It's weird and borders on something desperate or delusional.

And if our President does not win the 2012 election, anyone who suggests it was because he didn't take Hillary Clinton as his VP can also fuck off. I'd normally put a "Fuck OFF" like that on layway until November but I can more than see it coming to pass here.

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