April 30, 2015
ACLU California Video App
The California ACLU is making available an app that allows one to upload a video of a police encounter directly to the ACLU. You can also configure it to lock your phone as soon as the video is complete, which will prevent browsing by the police, but won't stop the old fashioned smash-the-phone-on-the-pavement technique.
The app is called "Mobile Justice - California" and is available for iOS and Android.
April 28, 2015
This Morning's Chat In Washington
"'If Sue loves Joe and Tom loves Joe, Sue can marry him and Tom can’t,' [Chief Justice] Roberts said. 'Why isn’t that a straightforward question of sexual discrimination?'"
Yeah, why not, exactly?
Transcript of the proceedings on the question of whether they 14th amendment really applies to ALL states, because surely now, they couldn't possibly have intended that amendment to apply to southern states or especially to those states that didn't want to extend equal rights to everyone. The court probably stated that more succinctly, something like must every state permit same-sex marriages.
Transcript of the proceedings on the question of whether all 50 states are really states in the United States subject to the Constitution or are we still under the Articles Of Confederation? They say they are deciding whether every state has to recognize all marriages performed in other states (as they have done since the beginning). There is a suggestion even Justice Scalia might go with this one.
A simple story: gay, closeted legislator votes repeatedly against a bill that would have added "sexual orientation" to the state's anti-discrimination law, so he gets outed. His username on Grindr is "Top Man!"
I don't need to tell you what party he belongs to, do I? The last Democrat to come out this way was Barney Frank - and when that happened, Ronald Reagan was still President (by which I mean it was a loooooong time ago).
April 25, 2015
What IS Burning Man
Oh, we keep asking that and giving and getting the non-answer, like "It is like trying to describe the experience of listening to music, while watching an experimental film that is about making a film about making a film about making art, while getting your painfully sunburned back rubbed with coconut oil." And all that has to be explained to someone who is blind and deaf.
Experiencing a city built on creativity, built on self-expression, built on participation, does something to the participator. It allows a freedom not often nurtured elsewhere in the world. It says yes to how you choose to express, which can create something special within you. When you are not afraid of being judged, when you are not afraid of being seen, when you are not afraid to be who you are, you might discover just that, who you are.
Even if the structure itself was the most beautiful place you’ve ever seen, or you had one of the most beautiful experiences of your life within it, you won’t be able to hold onto the place where it happened, it will be burned. So you will have to look inside yourself for the experience. Not outside.
Those Swedish Cops
The ones who subdued the violent man on the NYC subway a couple days ago, those Swedish cops. If you have watched more than one or two videos of cops taking down an offender, then it may strike you that one thing these Swedes don't say in this video is "Stop resisting." This, even when the restrained man tried that old "I can't breathe" line. You're not supposed to be able to scream that line. You've got to work in one or two gasps for air and let your voice dwindle away at the end.
April 24, 2015
No Shit, Sherlock
The Oklahoma Geological Survey, a government agency, has announced that it "considers it very likely that the majority of recent earthquakes, particularly those in central and north-central Oklahoma, are triggered by the injection of produced water in disposal wells." IOW, fracking. But it's not fracking alone that does it, or North Dakota would be experiencing the same huge leap in earthquake activity.
"These earthquakes swarms are occurring over a large area, about 15% of the area of Oklahoma, that has experienced significant increase in wastewater disposal volumes over the last several years."
"Most of the earthquakes in Oklahoma are occurring within crystalline basement, deeper than most oil and gas operations. However, reactivation of deeper basement faults from water injection/disposal at shallower depths is often observed in cases of triggered seismicity."
"The majority of wastewater disposal is targeted for injection in the Arbuckle formations, which closely overlie the crystalline basement."
Compare this map of earthquakes greater than 2.5 over the last 30 days in Oklahoma with this map of known faults in Oklahoma. It looks to my layman's eyes that the quakes are occurring in an area well away from the major faulted areas.
April 23, 2015
City Council Meeting On April 28
The Desert Hot Springs City Council is holding a special meeting on this coming Tuesday, April 28. The only item on the agenda is to consider a resolution that will allow proposed, but not yet approved, dispensaries to change their proposed locations. The resolution, as written, would also permit those not yet approved dispensaries to request their proposals be considered by the City Manager and the Planning Commission. It's not clear to me what the Planning Commission would do. Would they actually go so far as to approve a CUP but hold it in abeyance until the City Council increases the numerical limit on dispensaries?
A very interesting part of the agenda packet is a map put together at the request of the City Council. It shows all the proposed locations for dispensaries. It also shows 1,000-foot buffer zones around schools, churches, and recreation facilities. The resolution says nothing about changing buffer zones. The only one we have now is a 600-foot buffer around schools.
The dispensary locations are the annotations in red. The very large buffer zones do leave some commercially zoned areas available for dispensaries, but none around Palm & Pierson. There couldn't be any north of Estrella. It looks like the western side of Palm between Ironwood and Two Bunch Palms Trail would be open...and there is open land there. Most of the K-Mart shopping center is outside any buffer zones. Large commercial areas that are well outside any buffer zones are Indian and Pierson, Dillon and Palm and the south side of Dillon going west from Little Morongo. I think a dispensary next to the Roadhouse (or whatever its current name is) would do well. The map does not go as far west as highway 62, but the area around Pierson and 62 is also zoned commercial.
I'm curious about what appears to be a little commercial zone near Hacienda and Agua Cayendo Road. This Google map satellite view shows what certainly looks like residences filling that unusual commercial zone. Is that little bit of ink a mistake?
I also want to draw attention to Christ Lutheran Church at its old location. Are there still some church activities going on there? The new location is not shown at all. You would think the number of times Paul Miller has gotten up to talk about the new location of the church, at least one member of the city staff would pick up on it.
April 22, 2015
Coming Down To April 28
April 28 being, of course, the date the U.S. Supreme Court will finally hear oral arguments on same-sex marriage issues. But you knew that, didn't you. So the poor Supremes have been inundated with amicus briefs that I'm sure have kept the court clerks ROTFL. Some of the knowledge that has been shared by Republican leaders and other troglodytes:
At The World Trade Center
515 years compressed into 52 seconds on the elevator to the top of 1 World Trade Center revealing an architectural history of American urban development: