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Gender: Male
Hometown: California
Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 21,997

About Me

Inveniet quod quisque velit; non omnibus unum est, quod placet; hic spinas colligit, ille rosas.

Journal Archives

"All odd and splendid as freaks and nobody able to see himself"

"Someone told me it is spring, but everyone today looked remarkable just like out of August Sander pictures, so absolute and immutable down to the last button feather tassel or stripe. All odd and splendid as freaks and nobody able to see himself, all of us victims of the special shape we come in.”

-- Diane Arbus (referenced here)

No comment, really - I just liked it and it felt interesting. Plus I'd never heard of August Sander...

The battle to build Shakespeare’s Globe

This week marks the 450th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birth. Yet the way we remember history’s most renowned playwright might have been very different had it not been for a formidable foe.

In November 1596 a woman named Elizabeth Russell declared war on Shakespeare and his theatrical troupe, in the process nearly destroying the dramatist’s career. Russell rarely features in accounts of Shakespeare’s life, yet her actions determined how we think of him today: as the Shakespeare of the Globe Theatre.

In the National Archives in Kew there is a bundle of curious papers, identified by the prosaic reference number SP 12/260. The documents include two petitions to Queen Elizabeth I’s Privy Council. The first is headed by Lady Russell and records her endeavour to block the opening of a spectacular new theatre which Shakespeare was about to occupy less than a two-minute walk south of her home in Blackfriars, London. This unassuming manuscript discloses a scarcely believable act of betrayal, for among its 31 signatories are Shakespeare’s publisher, Richard Field, and his patron, George Carey, the Lord Hunsdon.

--- Snip ---

Lady Russell’s robust personality matched her breeding. One contemporary described her as being “more than womanlike”, after witnessing her physically assaulting a nobleman in a court of law. She sparked numerous acts of rioting, violent affray, kidnapping, breaking-and-entering, illegal imprisonment and armed combat. For Russell warfare was a way of life. “A Lady of my place,” she had insisted, should scorn to be “contemptuously trodden on and overbraved by my malicious inferiors and adversaries.” Shakespeare would discover, to his cost, how true this was.

--- Snip ---


How the elevator transformed America

When Daniel Levinson Wilk steps onto the elevator at work, he doesn’t just stand there and zone out. Instead he focuses on what’s happening to him: the strange push against his feet, the sense of moving through a dark and hollow artery in the middle of his building. Over the next 90 seconds, Wilk absorbs—or tries to—the sense that he’s having an experience that profoundly changed America.

The elevator, Wilk says, is responsible for shaping modern life in ways that most people simply don’t appreciate. An associate professor of history at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and a board member of the Elevator Museum in Queens, Wilk would like everyone to be more conscious of the elevators in their lives. But he is particularly disappointed with his fellow academics—people who are supposed to be studying how the world works—for failing to consider just how much elevators matter.

“The lack of interest scholars have shown in the cultural life of elevators,” he wrote in a recent e-mail, “is appalling.”

For most city-dwellers, the elevator is an unremarkable machine that inspires none of the passion or interest that Americans afford trains, jets, and even bicycles. Wilk is a member of a small group of elevator experts who consider this a travesty. Without the elevator, they point out, there could be no downtown skyscrapers or residential high-rises, and city life as we know it would be impossible. In that sense, they argue, the elevator’s role in American history has been no less profound or transformative than that of the automobile. In fact, according to Wilk, the automobile and the elevator have been locked in a “secret war” for over a century, with cars making it possible for people to spread horizontally, encouraging sprawl and suburbia, and elevators pushing them toward life in dense clusters of towering vertical columns.

--- Snip ---


Elevators deserve a lot more serious consideration that I realized...

8 great public spaces hidden in downtown San Francisco

San Francisco has more than 65 privately developed spaces that are open to the public. No two are alike, and not all are readily apparent. Some are on rooftops; some are tucked inside buildings. Others are hidden in plain sight, easy to walk by without a second glance.

The city’s Planning Department has a web page devoted to these spaces — here’s the interactive map – and the civic advocacy organization SPUR has a similar guide that even rates each site as of 2009. I’ve written about the nooks on several occasions, including the need to keep them looking good as they age.

--- Snip ---


Very cool - I think I'll plan part of my walks next time I visit around these places...

Good ruling. I like that explanation from Justice Sotomayor and the DOJ quote:

“Indeed, ‘most physical assaults committed against women and men by intimates are relatively minor and consist of pushing, grabbing, shoving, slapping, and hitting,’” Sotomayor wrote, quoting a Department of Justice report. “Minor uses of force may not constitute ‘violence’ in the generic sense. … But an act of this nature is easy to describe as ‘domestic violence,’ when the accumulation of such acts over time can subject one intimate partner to the other’s control. If a seemingly minor act like this draws the attention of authorities and leads to a successful prosecution for a misdemeanor offense, it does not offend common sense or the English language to characterize the resulting conviction as a ‘misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.’”

Drying up the delta: 19th century policies underlie today's crises (LAT)

HAMILTON CITY, Calif. — A shallow inland sea spreads across more than 160 square miles, speckled with egrets poking for crayfish among jewel-green rice shoots.

The flooded fields could be mistaken for the rice paddies of Vietnam or southern China, but this is Northern California at the onset of severe drought.

The scene is a testament to the inequities of California's system of water rights, a hierarchy of haves as old as the state.

Thanks to seniority, powerful Central Valley irrigation districts that most Californians have never heard of are at the head of the line for vast amounts of water, even at the expense of the environment and the rest of the state.

--- Snip ---


A nice summary of CA water rights and recent debate...

I don't read it as a question of overturning the Lautenberg Amendment, but

rather a question of who it applies to.

The Lautenberg amendment (from 18 USC 922g) says that:

(g) It shall be unlawful for any person—


(8) who is subject to a court order that—
(A) was issued after a hearing of which such person received actual notice, and at which such person had an opportunity to participate;
(B) restrains such person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner of such person or child of such intimate partner or person, or engaging in other conduct that would place an intimate partner in reasonable fear of bodily injury to the partner or child; and
(i) includes a finding that such person represents a credible threat to the physical safety of such intimate partner or child; or
(ii) by its terms explicitly prohibits the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against such intimate partner or child that would reasonably be expected to cause bodily injury; or
(9) who has been convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence,

to ship or transport in interstate or foreign commerce, or possess in or affecting commerce, any firearm or ammunition; or to receive any firearm or ammunition which has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce.

The case seems to relate to the definition of physical force and domestic violence, which is addressed in 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(33):

(A) Except as provided in subparagraph (C), the term “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” means an offense that—
(i) is a misdemeanor under Federal, State, or Tribal law; and
(ii) has, as an element, the use or attempted use of physical force, or the threatened use of a deadly weapon, committed by a current or former spouse, parent, or guardian of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabiting with or has cohabited with the victim as a spouse, parent, or guardian, or by a person similarly situated to a spouse, parent, or guardian of the victim.

So in my very-very-much-not-a-lawyer opinion, it seems that the question for the USSC is how much "physical force" is required to trigger the ban - were it up to me, the answer would be "very little"...

Not convoluted at all - as I said in the OP, concerns about CCW on campus

seem to be based on unsupported assumptions about how CCW holders behave in public as well as some misapprehensions about what the university environment is really like. What's convoluted is the idea that a purely private act would be a distraction, when that hypothetical distraction isn't occurring anywhere else that the private act is allowed. I base my logic on the following points:
  • People are already carrying in other places without causing a disruption or having a chilling effect, and there's no reason that would be different on campus.
  • The students who would have the ability to carry on campus are already on campus (albeit leaving their firearms behind). They're apparently not creating a chilling violent ruckus now, so why would they suddenly start to if allowed to carry?
  • As stressful as college may be, classroom discussions are not generally violent events - if students aren't throwing chairs and punches now, why expect that they'd throw bullets?
  • Students who hypothetically would be discomfited by the possible presence of a CCWer are likely already around CCWers off-campus, yet that knowledge does not seem to cause any disruption off-campus.
All of these points suggest to me that there is no real reason to treat campuses differently than anywhere else in the matter of CCW permittees. If it's allowed elsewhere without a problem, it should be allowed on campus. As far as I can tell, the argument against campus-carry (and CCW in general) boils down to a matter of personal opinion. It's fine to think that CCW is distasteful or worse - but that dislike doesn't and shouldn't carry any weight in how the law limits or restricts the choices of others.

"Qualified" means 'eligible; conforming to predefined criteria; meeting a relevant standard.' I've given my opinion elsewhere, but I think CCW should be shall-issue with a comprehensive (i.e. non-trivial) training requirement. It should not be a 'library card,' and those with the legal privilege to carry in public should in fact meet a reasonable standard. A qualification, in other words, that would be just as applicable on campus as off. (And while I'm not a Texan, what I've read about that state's system makes me think you might be underestimating the requirements there.)

I should make clear that I'm referring to public schools here. Private school administrators should be allowed to set whatever rules they want in this regard, but public universities should remain as aligned as possible with the rest of the public sphere. Absent a compelling reason to treat campuses differently - which does not exist in this case, beyond some unfounded fears - the campus should allow individuals to make their own choice in the matter (in accordance with state/federal laws)...

"Guns on Campus: A Chilling Effect" by Kenneth M. Mash (NEA, Thought & Action)

--- Snip ---

In Keyishian v. Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York (1967), the U.S. Supreme Court asserted that the college “classroom is peculiarly the ‘marketplace of ideas,’” and it has pointed to the necessity of training leaders to consider a variety of perspectives.1 The common expectation of the college experience is one where faculty will challenge students’ beliefs and students will challenge each other. We expect that engaging tough conversations about deeply held beliefs can result in intellectual growth. But this is the type of activity that often also results in emotional responses and high tempers. Successfully navigating these stormy waters can be a challenge, and not everyone allows those conversations and challenges to take place because of the risks. Throw in the possibility that some-one is armed with a deadly weapon, and one might reasonably ask whether it is worth the potential risk to themselves or to other students.

Creating a true marketplace of ideas free from offensive language, as any professor can attest, is a challenge. There are even disagreements about the conditions that will best lead to an atmosphere that is conducive to open and honest discussion. Whatever our perspectives, there can be no doubt that, at minimum, there should not be any fear on the part of the students or faculty that they could be subject to violence or the threat of violence brought about by the use of a deadly weapon. Many have written on the overall topic of safety with regard to allowing guns on college campuses. However, not much has been said about how allowing the possession of deadly weapons can create a “chilling effect” on academic discussions. The Supreme Court has frequently used the notion of a “chilling effect” to strike down laws that potentially punish speech and that potentially keep people from expressing their views out of fear that they will have to litigate to protect their free speech rights. To the degree that allowing people to carry weapons on campus stifles open discussion, limits the marketplace of ideas, and hinders training students about engaging difficult ideas that challenge their core values, it also creates a “chilling effect.”

--- Snip ---



Prof. Mash argues that allowing legal CCW on campus would create fear and stifle discussion, but I think the argument is based on erroneous assumptions about how CCW holders behave. If students would be inspired to whip out a gun during a heated academic discussion, why are CCW holders not doing that as a matter of course in other arenas? By the same token, almost every student in the classroom is armed with a fist - and the psychological barrier to throwing a punch has got to be lower than pulling a trigger - yet classroom discussion sessions rarely seem to escalate into brawls...

From what I've read elsewhere, there is a risk of fighting mortality in

male-heavy populations. So perhaps removing a non-breeding male removes a risk to younger and more productive males.

I think there's two separate issues in threads like this. On the one hand, it may be a totally appropriate conservation strategy to manage the age- and sex-balance of a population. But on the other hand, a person who takes pleasure in being led up to a selected animal just to kill it is still contemptible...

Here's what I found from googling:
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