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[links] Link salad heads west once more - Lakeshore — LiveJournal
An author of no particular popularity

Jay Lake
Date: 2010-08-06 02:18
Subject: [links] Link salad heads west once more
Security: Public
Tags:cancer, cool, culture, healthcare, links, personal, photos, politics, process, religion, science
Michael Swanwick, on me

Southpaws: The Hops in Humanity's Beer? — Chirality, fiction and you. Science In My Fiction on handedness.

Topic of Cancer — Christopher Hitchens on his own cancer.

Fashion plates from the 1800s

Captured: America in Color from 1939-1943 — (Via garyomaha.)

The Goode Mansion: 1939Shorpy with a haunting photo.

Mary we crown thee with blossoms today! — Roger Ebert on his childhood. As usual, a terrific read.

Sharia vs. The New Deal. — Conservative paranoia regarding liberals and Islamic banking. I have never understood the conservative notion that liberals want to promote Islamic law. That fails a common sense test that any fourth grader could see through. We don't even want Biblical law in this country, why on earth would we want a Shariate?

?otD: On the whole, would you rather be in Philadelphia?




8/6/2010
Writing time yesterday: 0.25 hours (WRPA)
Body movement: airport walking
Hours slept: 6.0 (solid)
This morning's weigh-in: n/a
Yesterday's chemo stress index: 4/10 (fatigue, peripheral neuropathy, emotional distress)
Currently (re)reading: Inheritor by C.J. Cherryh

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(no subject) - (Anonymous)
Nathan
User: mastadge
Date: 2010-08-06 12:57 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
That's one that I see more often than I expect from acquaintances: people so worried that they not interfere with others' culture, so concerned that they not put their own values above others', that they are effectively paralyzed when it comes to taking a stand even on such issues as murder or gender violence. That said, as a liberal democratic state we do have the duty to be respectful of the communities that comprise our population, even if we don't always agree with their ideologies, and there is going to be compromise in that, while they have to follow the law of the land, the state is also in some cases going to have to create laws to protect minority and unpopular communities from the tyranny of the majority, as discussed yesterday. I think, however, that individual liberty trumps the right of a "culture" to exist, and that the state must always ensure that people in any given community or culture have not only the right to leave the community but also, in instances where taking that liberty leaves people outcast from their communities, the resources, opportunities and education to establish themselves as part of the "mainstream" if they wish.
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(no subject) - (Anonymous)
Nathan
User: mastadge
Date: 2010-08-07 15:18 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
But religious cultures are not, for the most part, static. Even in religions with (presumably) unchanging texts as their bases, interpretations of the texts change as context changes. Ideas, ideals, traditions and morals are largely dependent on the cultural narratives and environmental realities of the people at any given time. The freedom of religion is a right; but the right not to be a victim of violence or oppression trumps, or at least is not trumped by, that right. Your right to swing your fist, even in the name of religion, stops where someone else's nose begins. A religious or cultural community that chooses to live in a liberal democratic nation can accept the compromise, can accept that their religious beliefs do not hold more water in that society than anyone else's human rights, and that stagnancy is just as dangerous to a culture as assimilation, or it can have a very hard time. Morality always changes, even when the words it is based on do not; the problem is working out an approach to figuring out how to make human rights work within a given cultural framework without being condescending, disrespectful or dismissive in a way that will cause unnecessary conflict. And part of that is making sure that there is a safe and accessible exit route with necessary supports for entering a different community; if enough women/youth/whatever decide that they're better off leaving a religious community than remaining within it, that community will likely start adapting rather risk disappearing.
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(no subject) - (Anonymous)
Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2010-08-08 13:36 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Many victims have no choice. And liberals provide little if any protection.

I strongly agree with you right up to that last sentence. Then I strongly disagree with you. In the American political system, given the thorough commitment of the the GOP to a strongly restrictive religious agenda, liberals are the *only* thing standing between personal/civil rights and the dictates of a loud minority's personal orthodoxy. That's what the arguments over gay marriage, reproductive freedom, school prayer, etc. are all about - protecting everyone from some people's definition of faith. Freedom of religion is freedom *from* religion.
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(no subject) - (Anonymous)
Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2010-08-10 19:16 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Once again, we are in agreement. :)
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Nathan
User: mastadge
Date: 2010-08-08 14:29 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
As far as protecting children goes, one change I'd (probably) like to see is a recasting of "parental rights" as "parental privileges" -- i.e., that instead of having the right to raise their children as they see fit, parents instead have the privilege to raise their children as they see fit, insofar as they are acting in the interests of the child. In the vast majority of families, this would mean no change from the way things are now; the difference would be in cases where the children are being harmed by the parents, as in cases where medical treatment (or, say, sufficient education) is denied by parents for religious or personal reasons. In those cases, the state would have the right to intervene and the onus would be on the parents to demonstrate that what they were doing was in the child's interest, as opposed to the way it is now in which the parents can do more or less what they want and the onus is on the state to demonstrate that the (in)action is harming the child, which often leaves the child in the lurch for months or years before it's legally sorted.

I disagree with you about protection. The liberals are working. It's just slow work. Just as with women, slaves, people of less common physical or mental abilities, and any other group of people who once were not legally considered people but are now (in theory if less reliantly in practice) supported and protected by the law, so too are children finally beginning to be considered as people instead of, essentially, as the property of their parents. The law isn't quite there yet, but we're working in the right direction; in some instances, in fact, children's rights may have gone too far, to the extent that parents and teachers have been defenseless against childrens' allegations.

As for religious mutilations, even of the most common variety like male circumcision, I would generally prefer to wait until the child is old enough to make an informed decision as to whether or not he or she wants to go through with it. I fail to see the point of symbolically entering an infant into a contract by means of circumcision or baptism or whatever in the same way that I wouldn't consider a legal contract "signed" by an infant whose hand was being guided by an adult legally binding. The same goes for non-religious decisions: when a child is born with unusual genital features, unless they are medically dangerous, I'd prefer that doctors and parents not make the decision for the infant to chop things up and make the child one gender or another, but that they wait until the child is old enough to have a sexual and gender identity, and then let the child have a say in whether or not to have a surgery and, if so, what the end result should look like.

(I am circumcised, and for a long time I never actually thought about it. I got into an argument with a professor who claimed that circumcision was traumatic for infants, to which I replied that coming just a few days after being squeezed through a small hole, slapped until I consented to suck cold, dry, harsh air into my lungs, severed from my food tube, exposed to harsh lighting and forced to contend with gravity without liquid support, the circumcision probably seemed like just one of a string of abuses rather than a distinct traumatic event. But what do I know. Maybe someday I'll go into therapy and be able to blame all my neuroses on my parents, the mohel and the application of a sharp blade so early in life.)
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scarlettina
User: scarlettina
Date: 2010-08-06 15:24 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
That photo series from the war years was magnificent. What a wonderful collection. In return, I offer you the series of modern photos that the NY Times is currently running, on the modern prairie. Wonderful stuff.
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Kenneth Mark Hoover
User: kmarkhoover
Date: 2010-08-06 16:03 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Yay! I'm left handed. :P
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