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Archive for the ‘Justice’ Category

You can’t spell “marriage” without “mar”.

In Health, Justice, Political on December 17, 2010 at 4:53 pm

An article on Huffington Post writes that House Republicans just voted down the International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act of 2010. Almost everything you need to know about the bill is in the title. The major “problem” Republicans had with the bill (even those who initially supported it) is that it uses taxpayer money for abortion. Yep, once again a largely male congress is trying to legislate against a women’s uterus. The disappointing thing? (Other then the bills defeat?) Desmond Tutu and Mary Robinson (the former president of Ireland) both wrote Op-Ed columns supporting America’s finally speaking out against such marriages. Wow. Once again I am OH SO PROUD to be an American.

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Julian Assange, the Internet and the American Republic

In Curious Notions, Journalism, Justice, Political on December 8, 2010 at 9:08 pm

The internet is a beautiful and deadly place. It lets one share their ideas, discuss them, have them applauded, shut down or ignored. We can address global problems while simultaneously creating new ones. It is the home of knights and trolls, thinkers and speakers, the oppressed and the oppressors. The ultimate beauty of the internet is that, unlike the outside world, the oppressors are in the minority. If I’m being bullied on one site, I can always move to another. It is quiet the opposite here in the world of countries, republics, empires and nation-states where my movement is strictly controlled by my nationality and presentable papers. It’s enough to make one feel like an AKC half-breed whose documents have been barely authenticated. I speak of this as a born-and-bred American citizen not even as a jaded and green-card carrying immigrant whose place remains untenable until the final swearing in and oath taking.

“I pledge allegiance, to the flag, of the United States of America, and to the Republic, for which it stands…

The United States was founded as a republic and we continue to call ourselves one. That means that we, as it’s citizens, retain control over our government. We apply the Mandate of Heaven, so to speak. That Mandate, which is expressed clearly and succinctly in our own Declaration of Independence, goes that (1) we have “unalienable” rights that we (2) secure by forming governments. These “governments are instituted among Men” and derive “their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed…” The governed includes myself. In my opinion, it includes anyone who calls the United States of America home; legalized or not.

This lengthy introduction brings me to the case of recent internet (and print) cause célèbre Julian Assange. Assange is a former internet hacker who is also the founder of WikiLeaks, a website which collects and releases government documents on the web. As of this writing, almost 500K pages on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been released onto the internet.

The internet…

Such an idea, leaking classified documents to the world, was not possible to this extent 10 years ago. Maybe even fewer years ago then that. Now, such information dumps are instantaneous. Anyone with access to the internet can read about the documents or download them and read them for themselves. The internet is simply incredible in that it allows an individual unprecedented access to the world, to others and to ones own government.

What this has to do with the American Republic is simple: a Republic wouldn’t be afraid of transparency. A Republic would be proud of what it had accomplished and would spread that information with the world. Even if they aren’t proud of some actions there is still such a thing as responsibility and owning up to ones faults. It’s called being an adult.* You’d think a government run by supposedly mature adults would be aware of such a thing. If they aren’t, what are they doing there?

In conclusion, the ultimate idea of transparency within a Republic is best expressed in a quote by the playwright George Bernard Shaw: “If you have skeletons in the closet……you may as well make them dance.”

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*Of course, it goes without saying, everyone has some secrets that they’d rather not share. I know I do. That doesn’t mean people shouldn’t know them, even if I don’t want them to. It should also be said, however, that we all make mistakes. It is simply a fact of life and cannot be changed.

Adventures in blogging: SCOTUS Blog

In Blog Culture, Justice on November 15, 2010 at 11:48 am

Who: Allow me to dork out for a moment on this: a blog dedicated to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). It’s name? SCOTUSblog.

What: It’s a blog that lets non-poli-sci majors like me keep track of Supreme Court decisions. It also provides a reference resource, a list of case histories and even has a detailed calendar of what the SCOTUS has planned for each day. For example, did you know that on Nov. 29, a petitioner’s brief is due in Ashcroft v. al-Kidd? Can you believe that? That’s amazing! At least I think it is…to be honest, I have no idea what Ashcroft v. al-Kidd is, but you know what? SCOTUSblog does. And they’ll tell you…FOR FREE.

When: It was founded in 2002 by Tom Goldstein and Amy Howe, a married couple who are also lawyers. Lyle Denniston, a journalist, joined them a few years later. As of 2010, more than twenty people either work on the blog or write for it.

Where: SCOTUSblog.

Why: Because it’s just cool and also bloody helpful. If you want to keep an eye on the Supreme Court this is the way to do it. What’s the coolest feature? “This Week at the Court.” It’s on the main page, next to the calendar. Because of SCOTUSblog, I now know that the court will not be hearing any oral arguments this week.

Cool? Cool.